4/25/2015 2:00:00 PM
CHICAGO (ELCA) – Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are responding to an April 25 earthquake that shook Nepal and its capital city, Kathmandu. Sections of the city's historic center lay in rubble, as aftershocks continue to rock the city valley and neighboring countries.
News reports indicate that more than 1,000 people have died and thousands injured. The death toll is expected to rise as people are believed to be trapped under rubble. Deaths have been reported in neighboring Bangladesh, India and Tibet, and the tremor also set off an avalanche on Mount Everest.
As news about the catastrophe continues, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton is requesting prayers "for people affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks, especially as they grieve the loss of loved ones and property."
"Lutheran Disaster Response is committed to long-term disaster response, so our work is just beginning," said the Rev. Daniel Rift, director for the ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal. "The ELCA will accompany our brothers and sisters in the Nepal area as they navigate every part of this disaster relief and recovery process."
The Lutheran World Federation started a large-scale emergency response based in Kathmandu. Its office there has escaped the worst impact of the earthquake. The ELCA is the only U.S. member church of The Lutheran World Federation.
The ELCA is working in close partnership with the ACT Alliance to coordinate response efforts – which includes the distribution of life-saving supplies such as water, food, shelter and medication for people injured – along with Lutheran World Relief and other local organizations.
The Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director of ELCA Global Mission, remains in contact with staff of Lutheran World Relief. "All but one of their Nepal staff is accounted for," he said, adding that Lutheran World Relief "will be providing us with daily situation reports as together we address human need and suffering following a disaster of this magnitude."
According to Chandran Paul Martin, consulting regional representative for South Asia, ELCA Global Mission, "ELCA partners have been in contact soon after the news flashed. I had a phone conversation with Dr. Bijaya Bajracharaya, program coordinator for The Lutheran World Federation Nepal, who described the situation (after midnight, India time). She said people were on the streets in open ground as after-tremors were felt. We also tried to establish contact with the United Mission in Nepal, one of our partners, for an update."
Communication has been made with the Nepal Evangelical Lutheran Church, a member church of The Lutheran World Federation, and the Association for Theological Education in Nepal.
Information about Lutheran Disaster Response and this church's response efforts in Nepal are available at http://www.elca.org/en/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.8 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.
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