Director of Caritas Nepal: I Hope We Are Not Forgotten

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
15 May 2015

Your house went down? Just now? Just now.

This is what living in Nepal is like in the aftermath of several recent earthquakes. People live outside their former homes in makeshift shelters built from the remains of destroyed buildings.

Earthquake survivor
"I felt really scared this time, after so many days I felt there was earthquakes (aftershocks) of 4 to 5 (Richter scale) but I didn't actually feel them, so this time it was very big and I was afraid that, something happened to my house or something, hoping nothing happened to my house, I was very scared at that time."

The director of Caritas Nepal has traveled to Rome. He is participating in a conference with Caritas representatives from throughout the world. His testimony is lurid.

He says that the damage caused by earthquakes in Nepal is more serious than expected. Even worse is the trauma the country could experience if it is forgotten by the rest of the world.

Caritas Nepal
"But I see, what we need is a long term commitment. Because the reconstruction is going to take a number of years because of the mass scale of destruction. It may take three to four years. What I would say is don't forget Nepal immediately."

The earthquakes have killed more than 10,000 people and destroyed 400,000 homes, according to the director. He estimated how much money will be needed for immediate relief, as well as the longterm rebuilding.

Caritas Nepal
"At the emergency stage we have appealed for two and a half million Euros. But then for the recovery and reconstruction it is going to be at least 10 or 20 times more than that. We have not even thought of that right now, because we are still with the relief work."

The situation in Nepal is further complicated by logistical issues. Half of the country has been affected by the earthquakes, and the country is not prepared to distribute the large amount of international aid. The Caritas Nepal director said that the country's one airport is insufficient. Many people remain without food, medicine, and shelter.