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April 2015 • Earthquakes hit Nepal

Greetings from Kathmandu:

Just before noon, Nepal time on Saturday April 25th a portion of the earth’s crust more than 120 Km or 72 miles wide, traveled 3 meters or 10 ft. to the south. The journey took just a couple of minutes but for those of us on that piece of earth, the ride was most violent we are likely to experience.  Subhash Kattel and I, were facilitating two AVP Basic workshops in Kathmandu at the time, Subhash and his team were on the ground floor of a drug and alcohol recovery center. My team was on the fifth floor of a counselling center. We all crawled or lay on the floor until the ground reached its destination. Fortunately both buildings were sound and neither participants nor facilitators were hurt, although two participants walked the four hours back to their home in Bhaktapur  (no transport was operating) to discover their homes were destroyed.

Call to respond. In the days following the earthquake, peace teams currently in Nepal struggled to come to terms with the best way to respond to the tragedy. The first question – should we respond now, or should we wait – was quickly answered. As humans and as friends, we must care for each other, especially if there are immediate needs for water, food, health, shelter and medical care. The answer to our second question – what can we do that the government and the big agencies cannot do better with more resources – also quickly became clear. Ever since the end of the civil war and the murder of the king of Nepal the government has been paralysed by corruption partisan politics.

Why us? Through our personal relationships, with no overhead, we are able to deliver all the contributions directly to a place of need without others’ taking a cut along the way, either in our office, along the route there or in local systems.

 What can Friends Peace Teams do better than the big relief agencies?

  1. Our administration costs are zero; we will deliver all contributions directly to local people working on-site.
  2. Peace teams have trustworthy teams on the ground, who we have known and worked with over time.
  3. Peace teams are in touch with local needs and ways to meet those needs according to local custom and scale.
  4. Peace teams are aware of and concerned about the still active caste system. Disadvantaged communities such as Untouchables, Dalits and other low castes are at the bottom of the list for distribution of relief supplies, if indeed they are even on the list
  5. AVP-Nepal has a network of highly dedicated volunteers, who are poised to swing into action immediately. One team led by Subhash left Kathmandu today to assess needs and plan responses. With a six day working week, their only free day is Saturday, many of them would need income replacement to take much time off to do relief work.
  6. Our workshops – particularly trauma resiliency and recovery – are tools not available and not understood by other agencies and an understanding our network brings to our interactions with people in disaster zones.
  7. Our close working relationship with Children Nepal enables us to respond positively and rapidly to instances of child need.
  8. Peace teams understand well the need to restore and build community.

Rapid response. Time is of the essence! Transferring money to Nepal is slow and arduous so some of the Nepali and visitors here have raided our personal bank accounts for immediate working capital. Subhash and a small team of six are visiting rural areas to assess and choose where best focus our efforts.

We hope and pray the critical need here will lead to empathy and financial support for Nepal.

In friendship:

Subhash and John in Kathmandu

FPT-AWP Coordinators


To designate donation to this fund indicate: AWP-Nepal with your donation

To read the latest updates on this work under the Activities tab, choose Nepal.