Dear Kidstown Friends,
It has been nearly 12 days since the devastating earthquake rocked the small Himalayan nation of Nepal. Its effects have been widespread and have greatly affected life, and will continue to do so for months (and even years) to come. According to one source, the death-toll has now surpassed 9,000 and another 16,000 injured. 200,000 homes have been fully destroyed and another 200,000 have sustained significant structural damage and must be rebuilt. About 35% of Nepal’s population have been affected, either directly or indirectly. Many lost family members, homes, properties, businesses, and savings. Some remote villages have yet to receive food, water, and medical help.
April 25th was truly an epic disaster that none of us can fully comprehend.
Support for Nepal in the immediate wake was impressive. Media coverage as well as international and local relief efforts displayed a solidarity of concern and purpose. Nepal’s Army and Police are to be given much credit, having mobilized most (if not all) of their units to assist their people.
But as the dust settles and the rest of the world begins to forget about Nepal, what does Nepal do to get back on its feet again?
Nepal had a weak economy before the earthquake (Nepal’s GDP-per capita ranked 197 out of 230 countries, according to The World Factbook) and struggled with its economic development, infrastructure, and communications. This earthquake has added injury to insult, dealing an economic blow that may take decades from which to recover. The tourism sector, for example, has taken a big hit with visitors cancelling travel plans as far out as October and November. And Kathmandu, Nepal’s hub of commerce and industry, experienced a mass-exodus of up to 50% of its inhabitants due to fears of recurring earthquakes, health hazards, and due to folks simply having no other place to live.
Socially, Nepal also will suffer. Already we have received reports of hundreds of children that have been left without parents due to the quake. Malnutrition, waterborne illnesses, and exposure (a special concern with the oncoming monsoon season) are (and will) take their toll.
Seems overwhelming. And it is. But we aren’t called to respond to all of these needs; we are called to respond to some of them. And that’s what all of us here at Kidstown (including you) are trying to do. Many of you have been faithfully praying and faithfully giving.
Navigating these troubled waters, our plan is three-fold:
1. Near-term relief: we plan to give to each orphanage affected by the earthquake a basic relief package including finances (to help offset increased cost of food and commodities), water filters, and some other basic relief supplies.
2. Long-term reconstruction: we aim to help in the reconstruction effort of orphanages which have sustained significant structural damage. A Kidstown team will be on-site later this month to do a damage assessment of each orphanage affected by the earthquake.
3. On-going prayer for the orphanage leaders, our kids, and the Nepali people in-general.
May not seem like alot, but its something. And if we all do something, then it adds up to alot.
So – we thank all of you for your interest and concern for Nepal, its people, and our orphanages. For those who have prayed: thanks, and please keep it up. For those who have given financially: thanks, and we will try to apply those funds in strategic and wise ways which will help our Nepali orphanages. For those who have not yet engaged in some way: I encourage you to do so. Just because CNN is not showing the dust and rubble anymore does not mean that everything is back to normal over there. You can pray. You can give (www.kidstown.org/donate – “Nepal relief”), or you can engage in some other way. The main thing is that each of us do our part to help our family in Nepal that at this hour needs our help. Who knows, next year it might be us needing their help.