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Major Earthquake Hits Nepal: CRS and Caritas Mobilizing Response

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April 25, 2015 by Jim Stipe

Catholic Relief Services is responding to the powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake that has caused severe damage in Nepal and affected neighboring areas in surrounding countries, especially India.

The epicenter of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake was 50 miles from Nepal and it is feared that villages near there suffered devastation.

The death toll, officially more than 1,100, continues to rise. Thousands more are injured and it is feared that many are trapped in collapsed buildings, both in the capital Kathmandu and surrounding villages. The epicenter of the quake was 50 miles from Kathmandu.

“People are in a state of shock and are going to face a cold night outside tonight,” said Kushal Neogy, a CRS India staffer who is currently in the Kathmandu area “There is no electricity. It appears to be a chaotic situation with a feeling of panic.”

There have been strong aftershocks and many avalanches in the Himalayas, including on Mount Everest. Caritas Nepal reports that the quake damage has severed communication with its field offices.

CRS is working with Caritas India that is answering Caritas Nepal’s request for help. Tony Castleman, CRS Country Representative in India, said that a team of 10 to 12 CRS emergency specialists will reach Nepal by Monday.

“We are immediately sending materials for emergency shelter and for safe water sanitation and hygiene as these are expected to be the urgent immediate needs,” Castleman said.

“Our prayers are with the people of Nepal and all affected by this tragedy,” said Jennifer Hardy, CRS’ Regional Information Officer in Asia. “We know that there is major destruction in Kathmandu but we are also very concerned about those in outlying areas.”