Nepal: report from local Jesuits
We have had a report from our Jesuit colleagues in Nepal, where there are 68 Jesuits serving five schools (including a special needs school), a Higher Education College and social ministries supporting disadvantaged young people in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Deonia Mahehspur.
Many of the Nepalese Jesuits had gathered on Saturday in the remote village of Okhaldunga to celebrate an ordination. The earthquake struck just after conclusion of the ceremony. Many of the houses in the village were flattened but no one was hurt because they were all attending the ordination. The Jesuits are now trying to make their way back to Kathmandu over blocked and damaged roads.
In Kathmandu the Jesuit buildings are reported to have suffered some damage but are all still standing. The Jesuit schools have opened their grounds for people to camp, as it is dangerous to remain indoors with aftershocks ranging from 4.6-6.7 still causing more damage.
From Kathmandu we have had this report from Fr Augustine Thomas SJ, Principal of St. Xavier's College which educates 3,500 young people:
“We had the A Level entrance examination when the quake occurred. There were 450 students appearing for entrance examination. Though there was a bit of panic, everything got managed well. No one got hurt. Teachers did a very good job to evacuate the students from the building. Parents who were waiting for their children outside the building went through nightmare. Many of the old buildings in the town have come down.... and the causalities are really huge.
"I spent my night in the car and woke up with a good shake this morning at 5 am," says Fr Thomas. "The aftermath is still on. At the moment the local communities are involved in the rescue work. So many people to help but they are digging the collapsed building with hand tools which is not very fast. Thank you for keeping us all in your payers. Please continue to pray for the people of Nepal.”
Jesuit Missions has committed £10,000 to help the Jesuits in Nepal respond to the disaster. If you would like to show your support for, and solidarity with the people of Nepal, please support our Nepal Appeal.