Student volunteers from St. Xavier’s College assist in recovery efforts
May 28, 2015 — As a response to the devastating earthquake and its aftermath, Nepal Jesuits inaugurated the Nepal Jesuit Social Institute (NJSI) on May 20. Bishop Paul Simick blessed the Institute, Bishop Emeritus Anthony Sharma, SJ, offered special prayers, and South Asia Jesuit Provincial Fr. George Pattery, SJ, provided a missioning reflection. Roughly 100 people attended, including priests, sisters, well-wishers, friends, and Joint Secretary of the General Administration Ministry Mr. Suresh Adhikari. Mr. Adhikari addressed the group and said he hoped NJSI would take a lead role in ongoing relief and rehabilitation operations. He also asked NJSI to extend its expert services to help thousands of traumatized children returning to school.
NJSI was born of the Nepal Jesuits' desire to respond systematically and effectively to the earthquake that struck the country April 25 and has continued to impact lives. It is in the process of developing a detailed, long-term recovery and rehabilitation program for victims, with Fr. Boby Joseph, SJ, serving as coordinator.
The Midwest Jesuits continue to pray for and receive donations on behalf of the Nepal Jesuits. We ask that you, too, pray for the people of Nepal and consider a gift to the Midwest Jesuits' Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund (see the box below). Please share these and other updates from our website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed with your networks, and help us to help our sisters and brothers in Nepal.
May 18, 2015 — Fr. Greg Sharkey, SJ, a Jesuit from the Northeast Jesuit Province, is a professor of Himalayan religion and culture at Kathmandu University's Centre for Buddhist Studies. He was in Nepal when the Gorkha Earthquake struck and has been witness to its aftermath. To read some of his reflections, visit the Northeast Province's website.
The Midwest Jesuits continue to pray for the people of Nepal and receive donations on behalf of the Nepal Jesuits. Please pray for Nepal and, if you are able, consider a gift to the Midwest Jesuits' Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund (see the box below). Please share these and other updates from our website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed with your networks, and help us to help our sisters and brothers in Nepal.
May 13, 2015 — A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal Tuesday, May 12, killing at least 76 people and bringing further damage to the country in the wake of the April 25 Gorkha quake, which killed more than 8,000 people. According to NPR, yesterday's 7.3 earthquake was followed by a 6.3 quake and several aftershocks that continued through today.
The Nepal Jesuits have been working to respond to the needs of people since Gorkha, offering food and shelter relief, a mobile health clinic, and disease control measures. While none of their buildings were severely damaged in the latest earthquake, the Jesuits plan to continue assisting wherever the need is greatest.
Jesuit Fr. Samuel Simick from Tipling, which is located in the same north-central Nepali district of Bagmati where the second quake occurred, sent a report about the current situation.
"Yesterday's tremors were more than tremors," said Fr. Simick. "They shook the confidence that was slowly building in the people to rebuild and resettle in the houses.
"When the first tremor hit, the Jesuits, together with the school committees, were planning the next step in rebuilding schools. All four of the local government schools in the Village Development Committee are completely destroyed by the earthquake. There are no classrooms, no tents, no books, no teachers, no desks and benches, and no help from the Education Ministry. The meeting was dispersed because of the tremor. We could not finish the meeting, since all ran to see if any damage has been caused in their homes or to their kith and kin."
Fr. Simick said people are afraid of potential landslides caused by cracks that developed on hilltops as a result of the new earthquake. He also said while they have been able to receive solar power and power from a generator, there is still no electricity supply. Food and space for makeshift tents remain serious issues.
Fr. Simick reports that the Tipling Jesuit Residence has become the center for phone recharging and communication. The Jesuits' property is being used as a helipad and workplace for relief efforts, as it is among the only open and accessible locations.
The Midwest Jesuits are continuing to pray for and receive donations on behalf of the Nepal Jesuits. We ask that you, too, continue to pray for the people of Nepal and consider a gift to the Midwest Jesuits' Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund (see the box below). Please share these and other updates from our website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed with your networks, and help us to help our sisters and brothers in Nepal.
May 4, 2015 — The Jesuits in Nepal continue to respond to the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that has killed 7,250 people after impacting a mountainous region near Kathmandu Saturday, April 25. Another 5.1-magnitude earthquake shook Nepal Saturday, May 2, and engineers suggest further damage is still possible. According to the Jesuit Conference of South Asia, more than 300,000 buildings have either been damaged or destroyed.
Fr. Boniface Tigga, SJ, the Superior in Nepal's Jesuit Region, reported that Jesuits met over the weekend to assess the situation and continue planning their response. Currently, the Jesuits are offering immediate food and shelter relief, as well as a mobile health clinic and disease control measures. They are also exploring how they can support people with psycho-social care, continued relief until residents are assured of food security, viable shelter, and long-term rehabilitation.
Fr. Tigga indicated a number of challenges facing Nepal: the availability of food and ability to reach isolated residents; providing tents to people in need; limitations in transportation and communication facilities; and coordination amongst various agencies.
The Midwest Jesuits, who share a special relationship with the Jesuits of Nepal, continue to receive donations to aid relief efforts. We ask that you pray for the people of Nepal and consider a gift to the Midwest Jesuits' Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund (see details below). Please share these and other updates from our website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed with your networks, and help us to help our sisters and brothers in Nepal.
April 29, 2015 — A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked a mountainous region near Kathmandu, Nepal on Saturday, April 25 has killed more than 5,000 people, injured at least 10,000 and destroyed centuries-old temples and thousands of homes. “We don’t know the real situation in a lot of areas because big buildings have collapsed,” said Jesuit Father Pius Perumana, head of Caritas Nepal, an international Catholic aid organization that responds to humanitarian crises such as natural disasters and conflict.
The 68 Jesuits serving in Nepal are safe. The Jesuits there serve five schools, a college and social ministries that support disadvantaged young people in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Deonia and Maheshpur. Many of the Jesuits in Nepal were in the remote village of Okhaldhunga to celebrate an ordination when the earthquake struck.
|HOW TO HELP
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Jesuit Father Augustine Thomas, principal of St. Xavier's College in Kathmandu, had remained in Kathmandu during the ordination and reported Sunday that there was no major damage to Jesuit buildings and no causalities reported among the religious houses. The schools have opened their grounds for camping, as people are staying outdoors due to the power of the aftershocks.
Fr. Thomas wrote, “I spent my night in the car and woke up with a good shake this morning [Sunday] at 5 a.m. The aftermath is still on. At the moment the local communities are involved in the rescue work. So many people to help, but they are digging the collapsed buildings with hand tools, which is not very fast. Please continue to pray for the people of Nepal.”
Vast tent cities sprung up in Kathmandu for people displaced by the earthquake as strong aftershocks continued over the weekend. Caritas Nepal has been providing tarps to offer protection from the rain and cold temperatures. “We are distributing the necessary things — tarpaulin, tents and food. People are in dire need because it is already the third day after the quake,” said Fr. Perumana.
Fr. Perumana reported that there is an urgent need for shelter: “What the people need immediately is shelter. Temperatures are dropping at night, and there is also rain. Children are sleeping outside at night. It is really traumatic for them. We’re providing candles and matches so people have light at night, as the electricity is out.”
Jesuit Father Boniface Tigga, regional superior of the Jesuits' Nepal Region, reported that the Nepal Jesuits
||The Jesuits' St. Xavier's College has opened its grounds for shelter.|
Pope Francis offered his prayers to all those affected by the earthquake and encouraged rescue and emergency workers in their efforts. "I pray for the victims, those wounded and for all those who suffer because of this calamity," Pope Francis said after reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer with visitors gathered Sunday in St. Peter's Square.
Before leading people in praying the Hail Mary together, he expressed his hope that those affected by the disaster would "have the support of fraternal solidarity." [Sources: CNS, Jesuits in Britain, Caritas, CBS, Jesuit Conference of South Asia, BBC, Yahoo!, CRS, NPR]