With local collection already planned for Nepal, second earthquake boosts need

| May 12, 2015 | 1 Comment
Earthquake survivors select clothes from a relief material delivery near Gorkha, Nepal, May 1. CNS photo

Earthquake survivors select clothes from a relief material delivery near Gorkha, Nepal, May 1. CNS photo

The need for a collection planned to support Catholic Relief Service’s work in Nepal expanded May 12 when another major earthquake struck the Asian country. At least 50 have died, and more than 1,200 are injured, according to CNN.

On May 4, Archbishop John Nienstedt asked all of the parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to take a second, special collection during Mass May 16-17 to benefit the work of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ humanitarian arm, after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the Asian nation April 25.

Catholic Relief Services have been providing emergency shelter, blankets, and water treatment and hygiene kits in the areas affected by the April 25 earthquake, according to the Center for Mission, which promotes global outreach in archdiocese.

According to the Center for Mission, funds were already badly needed as the scope and short and long-term needs were expected to expand as more areas became accessible after the April 25 quake.

The second earthquake “just adds to the urgency, the importance of taking this to heart, to participate if you can, because the needs are just overwhelming,” said Deacon Mickey Friesen, director of The Center for Mission.

He said CRS has now served more than 75,000 people, and that the earthquakes have affected more than one-third of Nepal. People are sleeping outside because they fear more aftershocks, he added.

“It’s hard to fathom the scale of the disaster, so whatever we can do to get involved, it’s going to be long term,” Deacon Friesen said. “What we do today is just the beginning of a long-term relief and development.”

Father Paul Jarvis, exiting pastor of St. Joseph in Rosemount, wrote a letter May 10 urging parishioners of his new parish assignment, Christ the King in Minneapolis, to donate to CRS. Father Jarvis studied in Nepal 25 years ago, and worked as a CRS Fellow in Cambodia as a seminarian in 2003.

“I saw first-hand how CRS works with local populations in solving local problems with local ways and local wisdom,” he wrote in a message that he also shared with Catholic Hotdish. “CRS is not your typical international aid program that foists Western solutions upon people in developing countries. CRS believes that the best solutions come from the people being assisted. This is truly unusual aid thinking.”

He added: “CRS is known to be ‘the first in with food.’ No aid agency gets food to those in desperate need faster. CRS enjoys utmost respect from its fellow aid agencies.”

Following the May 12 earthquake, Father Jarvis reached out to Nepalese friends to see if they were safe. The same friends told him after the April 25 earthquake that the rural areas had greater devastation than Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, which Father Jarvis calls “one of my home-away-from-homes.”

“Entire villages have been destroyed, and there are no roads for them to get to centers of assistance,” he wrote after the April 25 earthquake. “CRS and other agencies will have to helicopter the aid in. And this will be very expensive.”

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