GRAND RAPIDS, MI (April 29, 2015) — Ram Aryal, Thornapple Covenant Church’s minister to the Nepalese-speaking community, said today that many family members living in his native country have been forced from their homes by Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people.
“My 80-year-old dad, stepmom, brothers, sisters-in-law, and my nephews and nieces are outside under tents,” said Aryal, who has had limited email contact with family in Nepal. “I do not know as of yet if anybody is hurt.”
Aryal noted that his father’s struggles are compounded because he is diabetic and has heart issues.
Medical supplies are almost impossible to obtain, government and non-government spokespersons have said. A Nepalese government minister said today that half a million tents are needed.
Bashu Prasai, the assistant pastor of Nepali-speaking ministries at Kent (Washington) Covenant Church, said he had not heard of anyone in his worshiping community whose relatives were killed or seriously injured. Most of them come from an area not impacted by the earthquake.
Still, he says, “We are shocked. Everybody wants to go there and help. Everyone is grieving,” he said.
As in other Nepalese ministries connected with Covenant congregations, most of the attendees are refugees.
Darren Miller, the liaison between the Glen Ellyn Covenant Church and the Nepalese-speaking community that worships there, said none of the people reported having family members impacted. They also were from refugee camps far from the epicenter.
Miller said a 5.9 magnitude aftershock had hit near that area, but he had not heard any further news of damage or casualties.
Covenant World Relief has established a special emergency fund to assist local partners respond to the disaster.