Thousands still missing after Nepal quake

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Associates)

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Associates)

Nepal (MNN) — Video footage at the moment the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25 is rare. What is showing via social media and the main networks came from a Wycliffe Associates partner. Bruce Smith, Wycliffe Associates president and CEO, details how they came by the video. Their ministry partner “just happened to be at a place, at a time where he had the vantage point that could see over the whole city when the earthquake occurred. There may not be other similar footage existing.”

In less than two minutes, the viewer gets a hint at the scope of destruction as the shaky cell phone video scans the Monkey Temple grounds, the hillside, and further on, a collapsing Kathmandu.

Nepal’s Prime Minister estimates the death toll could go as high as 10,000. Thousands are still missing. With communications down in most places, the unknown creates a miasma of fear. “We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to communicate with our people. A lot of communications have been disrupted. Cell phone systems are working in Kathmandu, but a lot of people’s batteries have run out because electricity has been unreliable.”

However, Smith says, “The good news for us and for our Nepali partners is that everybody in our immediate circles has been contacted, is accounted for, and is uninjured.” How? “We’re fortunate that we have an office there that has a solar power generation system, so we’ve been able to keep our people charged and in communication. Transportation outside of the city of Kathmandu is still highly disrupted because many of the arteries going in and out have been severely damaged.”

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Associates)

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Associates)

Wycliffe Associates explains that the Himalayan Mountains create a physical obstacle to assistance from the north, but the southern border with India provides several probable routes for assistance to reach Kathmandu by ground.

Nepali staff are helping in a rural community north of Kathmandu where 98 homes out of 140 were destroyed. They are providing food and tents for now, but in addition, “We’ll be responding with our Nepal partners as they continue their assessment of the needs and the impact on the language communities that are still without Scripture. Our long-term strategy is to use this event to respond compassionately for the short-term and to strengthen Bible translation for the long-term.”

On the day the Nepal quake struck, Smith says a translation team was making its way into Kathmandu to complete a project. Following a couple days of debate, they decided to press forward. “They are continuing their journey to Kathmandu because they are so intent on progressing their translation that they don’t want this to distract them or delay them.”

Pray for Wycliffe Associates’ national Bible translation partners who must rebuild their homes and facilities, while also restoring their vital work to bring God’s Word of hope to their people. “The real challenge,” says Smith, “for the Nepalese and for anyone on the ground there is to balance the immediate response–the compassionate response that’s called for in this kind of an urgent situation–against the long-term ministry needs and ministry impact that’s going to change things for the long haul.”

Already, international interest is waning fast, and with it, international aid funding. Often, this leaves people in the rural areas completely beyond help. These least reached are the focus of Wycliffe Associates. Here’s a giving opportunity to help them: You can help renew critical Bible translation work for the 97% of people in Nepal who need Jesus Christ.