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Nepal: A year after the earth shook

It is almost one year since Nepal found itself picking-up the pieces following the most devastating earthquake it had seen in almost a century.

Caritas workers in nepal

Caption: Caritas workers in Nepal. Trócaire is a member of the Caritas Network.

April 25th 2015 is a date that will live long in the memory in Nepal. It was on that date that the earth moved and buildings collapsed, killing almost 9,000 people and leaving many thousands more injured and homeless.

Seventy-four-year-old Mishri, who comes from a rural area to the north of Kathmandu, remembers what happened.

“I was inside my house when the earth moved,” she says, “and then suddenly I was outside my house, thrown to the ground. I felt as if my soul had left me. I just stayed there, I didn’t move, and I waited for the earth to stop shaking.”

Mishri was found by her son, her son-in-law and her grandchildren. 

“They picked me up, and told me not to be afraid,” she says, “but I could see that my home was destroyed and my food store was buried under the rubble.”

Mishri in Nepal

Caption: Mishri (74) receiving aid in rural area to the north of Kathmandu

People in Ireland donated over €1 million to Trócaire’s Nepal Earthquake Appeal. This allowed Trócaire to support the work of partners in Nepal to reach some of the country’s most remote and marginalised communities. 

Mishri was one of over 300,000 people who received aid and support from Trócaire and our UK partner CAFOD in Nepal.

She received food, household items such as plastic buckets and cooking pots, blankets, as well as plastic sheeting for creating a makeshift shelter.

Trócaire sprang into action immediately after the earthquake. Caritas, the global network of Catholic relief agencies of which Trócaire is a member, has a strong presence in Nepal.

Caritas Nepal was established by the Catholic Church in 1990 and today has a presence in 50 of the country’s 75 districts.

Since the earthquake struck, the Caritas family has been working tirelessly to help people recover and rebuild.

“Our main work was providing immediate relief materials, like tarpaulin sheets, mats, blankets, and other WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) items, such as buckets, clothes, soap and various items,” says Fr Pius Perumana, Director of Caritas Nepal. “Also in a number of villages where there was a real shortage of food, we also distributed food items; and in some of the villages, we provided tents and rope.”

Trócaire and other Catholic agencies from around the world rallied together to support Caritas Nepal in their hour of need.

Working in 15 districts, including ten of those worst hit by the earthquake, Trócaire supported the delivery of food, blankets, cooking equipment, hygiene kits and shelter kits.

Staff and volunteers have pushed trucks through mud, hiked up mountains, and even flown by helicopter to reach remote communities before they are cut off. 

Those efforts were massively helped by the dedication of people all over Ireland who ran fundraising campaigns to support Trócaire’s relief efforts.

Amazing generosity

Nowhere was this more evident than in Wexford. A group of people from Wexford were in Nepal when the earthquake struck and were determined to do what they could to support people in the country.

The events they organised across the county raised an incredible €170,000 for Trócaire’s relief efforts in Nepal.

CRS worker in Nepal

Caption: Worker from Trócaire partner CRS worker in Nepal.

Riverchapel parish priest Fr. Tom Dalton was one of eight people from Wexford who had just landed in Nepal when the earthquake struck on April 25th.

The earthquake devastated large parts of the country, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

“We were very thankful that none of our group was harmed,” says Fr. Dalton. “We were also very conscious that we could leave but the people of Nepal, who had been so kind to us, were the ones who had to pick up the pieces. So we decided that we wanted to do something to help and we approached Trócaire and offered to support their appeal.”

Among the events held was a concert at the National Opera House and benefit nights held at Kelly’s Hotel, Whites of Wexford and Tara Vie Hotel.

Local schools also got behind the fundraising efforts, with bake sales held at Riverchapel National School and Gorey Community School, while St. Mary’s National School held a non-uniform day to support the campaign.

Several other events were held, including charity runs and a link-up with Apple Green petrol stations.

“When we started out we very optimistically hoped to raise €100,000,” says Fr. Dalton. “Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would end up raising over €170,000. We have been astounded by people’s generosity. People have been so good and have been very enthusiastic about supporting the various events that have been run to support the people of Nepal.”

Trócaire’s Fintan Maher has paid tribute to the various communities in Wexford who got behind the appeal and organised events to raise money.

“To raise over €170,000 is a phenomenal achievement,” he said. “Everybody involved deserves enormous credit – from the organising committee who put together a wonderful night at the National Opera House, to the schoolchildren who baked cakes. The hard work of people in Wexford has allowed us to get shelter, water and other aid to people who lost everything when the earthquake struck.”

One year on, that generosity is still being felt all over Nepal.

Find out more about Trócaire’s work in Nepal.

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