The Nepal earthquake death toll has risen to 5,500 and 8 million others are in need of help, said the World Food Programme (WFP) and global news outlets today.
Listen Now: Naomi Reed talks about her time in Nepal
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'Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese are now homeless and desperate for medical help, food, water and shelter as a result of the quake.
But relief efforts are slow.
Emergency help is being hampered by landslides, congestion at Kathmandu airport, and chaos on the inadequate roads as tens of thousands of residents flee the ruined capital city.
Diarrhoea and other diseases could soon become a problem too, due to a lack of basic hygiene.
While communication with Nepal is limited, Hope Media was able to speak with missionary and author Naomi Reed, who spent years living in Nepal and has great insight into the landscape and its people.
She was “in shock and completely distressed” when she first saw earthquake footage in her Blue Mountains home.
140 Friends Unaccounted For
“Facebook told me that 140 of my friends are in the earthquake vicinity and hadn’t been accounted for,” she said. “I’m worried for not only our immediate friends but the whole country.
“Anyone who has travelled to Nepal and gone trekking realises that it’s so mountainous.
“The villages are dotted all around the mountains and most are only accessible by foot. Some are a day’s walk from a roadhead, so when a disaster like this happens, the villages are the most vulnerable.
“Our hearts go out to the poorest of the villagers. They are subsistence farmers who grow only enough food to feed their own family.”
Mrs Reed and her family lived in Pokuru and in Dhulikhel, which is close to Kathmandu.
Villages near where she lived have been completely destroyed.
“Even the hospital in Dhulikhel is built on the side of a hill,” she said. “Not only does the geography make it so difficult, but the roads and buildings are not built according to standards we would find acceptable in the west.
“And the health system is still stretched on a normal day let alone on days like this.”
Lives Are On A Knife-Edge
Desperate for help: Military personnel help an injured woman evacuated from a remote mountain village, to Gorkha. Picture: Matt Darvas for International Nepal Fellowship.
Thomas Meier from the International Nepal Fellowship has described the desperation of the situation in Gorkha.
"With each day that passes, it may be too late for such teams if survivors cannot be pulled from the rubble soon," he said.
"Locals here are desperately pleading for more helicopters to be dispatched to Gorkha to ensure villages still cut off can be reached and their loved ones rescued.
"There is no telling how long it will take to reach people in these remote villages and how they’ll survive until then."
Missionary Asks: "Please Pray"
Naomi Reed and her husband Darren are both physiotherapists and are considering returning to Nepal to help with relief efforts.
She is also urging people of faith to pray - not only that resources will quickly reach people in desperate need, but that the people of Nepal will be able to see, through the care and kindness of others, that God is with them.
She endorsed the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) and is asking people to donate to their work.
“INF has been doing medical camps in Nepal for more than 20 years and they are all set up to go already, but are in need of more funds.”
How You Can Help
- Donate to INF online: Post-earthquake rebuilding
- Donate from outside Australia: inf.org
- Find out how your church can help: Download PDF