Building a stronger Nepal

25 May 2015   |   Blog   |   Nepal   |   Emergency Relief

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Father Pius with an earthquake survivor in Nepal

Today marks one month since the first earthquake struck Nepal. Caritas Australia’s Lilian Chan, who is in Kathmandu, caught up with Fr Pius Perumana, Director of Caritas Nepal.

Q: You have seen areas that are devastated by the earthquake. What has left the most profound impression on you during your visits?
The thing that impressed me most is the resilience of the people. There is tragedy and suffering but the people haven't lost hope. This gives me a lot of encouragement and I am sure Nepal will rise again.

Some images that still remain vivid in my mind are from 25 April, people running in all directions, crying for help, houses shaking and collapsing, bodies on the street as I was coming to the office a couple of hours after the first quake.

We are shaken but not beaten; we shall rise as one stronger Nepal
Fr Pius Perumana,
Director, Caritas Nepal

Q: On the first Sunday after the earthquake that you presided over mass, what did message did you share with your parishioners?
In the homily of my first Mass after the earthquake I tried to exhort the people not to lose hope. To keep in mind that God is still in control. We have lost homes, relatives and friends, but He has saved us. It is for a mission, we need to go ahead, trusting in Him.

Q: There has been an outpouring of generosity by the global Caritas family. What does it mean to you to see such a collective expression of support by Catholic communities for the people of Nepal?
This is the true expression of the Christian spirit, “what you do to the least of my brothers/sisters you do unto me.” I am really overwhelmed by the generosity and commitment of our brothers and sisters from across the world.

Q. Why is the Church well-positioned to respond to this crisis?
The Catholic Church is well positioned in this situation because we do not have any ulterior motives – other than to help our brothers and sisters. Secondly, we have the right contacts in most of these areas through our institutions, NGO friends, community organisations, cooperatives, alumni of our institutions and other friends.

Q. What do you feel Nepali families and communities would want the world to understand about their situation?
Nepalese people have received a lot of sympathy from all across the world. Still I feel what they need most is support, not only for the immediate needs, but for long term rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance – with due respect and recognition of the local wisdom and experience. And I would appreciate very much that agencies consult the people with regard to what they need before they are offered what the agencies have.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to say we are shaken but not beaten; we shall rise as one stronger Nepal. It may take a little longer, but rise we shall.

Our emergency response

A map of our earthquake response in Nepal

Our supporters in Australia have been incredibly generous, donating over $2.3 million to help our brothers and sisters in Nepal.

These funds have gone toward the international Caritas response, which to date has helped over 100,000 people by providing emergency supplies such as tarpaulins, plastic mats, blankets and kits for clean water and hygiene.

Learn more about the Nepal Emergency Response

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