OPEN DOORS REPORT FROM NEPAL: CHRISTIANS FACING DISCRIMINATION IN AID DISTRIBUTION
Over 100 Christians in Nepal have been reported dead after church buildings fell during the April 25 earthquake. The numbers are continuing to rise. Thousands of Christians have lost their homes and are sleeping in tents. Several of the victims are being treated in government hospitals; however, the hospitals are packed and people are finding it difficult to obtain proper treatment. And many Christians are facing discrimination from the government and are not receiving relief supplies.
Simon Thapa, a member of the Mukti Ko Darshan Church, was admitted to Teachings Hospital in Kathmandu after the earthquake. Both of his legs were fractured when a church building collapsed. He previously worked for day wages. Now there is no one to provide for his family. “My family will have to face much financial struggle until I am once again fit to work,” he says.
There are several families experiencing similar circumstances as their main wage-earners have died or were seriously injured.
The situation of Christians who are affected by the earthquake is devastating in many rural areas. Many Christians are facing discrimination from their communities. Also, Christians have no hope of receiving relief help from the government of Nepal.
Nissi Church and Alpha Church in Sindupalchok were not even provided with help to remove dead bodies from the debris, despite the fact that the Christians submitted several requests to governmental officials. They had to hire cranes to do the work themselves. Church members are living together in tents and are arranging for their meals with the help of their family and friends from other villages.
Apart from the injuries and deaths, there are villages where hundreds of houses have been destroyed, yet the majority of people were somehow spared. In Madhevista village, 35 Christian families lost their houses because of the earthquake.
“Our mud houses were destroyed completely. Had we not been in the church that day, we would have died, too. We have since set up 9-10 tents where groups of Christians are living together,” states Suman Thapa, pastor of the church. The pastor’s house was also destroyed by the earthquake. Initially, nearly 60 people were living together in one tent. Now, a few more tents have been obtained and 30 people are living in each tent.
“We need more tents for our families. Many people living together like this is not hygienic. There is a chance of epidemics spreading,” shares the pastor.
The believers, most of them very poor, are sharing the resources they have received from their family and friends. Very limited aid has reached this village. The people still lack food and clothes and are in desperate need of proper shelter.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.