The following story comes to us courtesy of SIM's partner in Nepal, United Mission to Nepal. SIM will work alongside UMN in providing disaster relief and reconstruction. See their website here.
By Lyn Jackson
"Our plane took off in a hurry, surrounded by dark rain clouds, and headed for the isolated mountain village of Keraunja. It wasn't long before we could see many villages that were completely destroyed," writes Josh Riggsbee, one of the doctors from United Mission Hospital Tansen, a partner with SIM Nepal. "Then the storm caught us. In very strong rain and little visibility, our pilot guided us to the top of a mountain ridge and found a flat spot to land."
Josh and his family's "time off" in Pokhara, Nepal ended early when the earth shook on 25 April. Together with Dr Becca McAteer, Josh headed out early on Monday morning with a team from International Nepal Fellowship in an attempt to reach badly affected villages in the remote Gorkha district. They finally got seats on an army helicopter, which deposited them on the side of a mountain in pouring rain.
Every single house in this village, home to 330 people, was gone. The villagers, desperately poor to begin with, had lost what little they’d had. At least 20 people had died. Josh and Becca assessed the sick and wounded, gave guidance to the local nurse assistant, and provided supplies to replace those lost when the Health Post collapsed. The next closest Health Post was six hours' walk away!
That evening, a village family offered a simple rice and daal (lentil soup) meal, shelter under their tarpaulin, and their last thin blanket to Josh and Becca. True Nepali hospitality! The next morning, the group hiked down to another village, where about 240 households had lost everything. Again they assessed the wounded and identified several patients who had severe injuries and needed to be airlifted out.
But how? With limited phone contact and helicopters at a premium? The sound of rotor blades was like a miracle! An Indian Army chopper had come to drop supplies and collect some trekkers. They agreed to take the injured, Josh and Becca, and even stop off at Keraunja for more patients and the doctors' bags.
"It was an amazing and humbling experience," says Josh. "To see so much need and have so little to offer. The amount of long-term assistance needed is currently unmeasurable. By God's grace, nothing is impossible. He will bring love out of utter chaos and peace from anxiety. The best part is - He wants all of us to be involved."
Please get involved! Pray for the short-term needs and the long-term recovery that will be needed in these remote villages. Pray for on-going efforts to reach them. For more information on how you can give to the recovery efforts, please check here.