( In the picture: A two year old girl being protected by her 4 years old brother)
On Saturday 25th April 2015 Nepal was struck by the worst earthquake in 80 years, leaving over 5,000 people dead in flattened houses and buildings including the iconic Dharhara tower and renowned Darbar Square in the heart of Kathmandu. The epicenter was Lamjung, Nepal.
The quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8 was most severe in the densely populated Kathmandu. A 6.6- magnitudeaftershock hit an hour later and smaller aftershocks continued in the region for hours. The earthquake also shook several cities across northern India and was felt as far away as Lahore in Pakistan, Lhasa in Tibet and in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Kolkata too was shaken up. Though both Kathmandu and Kolkata begin with K, the impact of the movement of tectonic plates has shown the difference between the two cities.
Even though there were no reported casualties, we cannot be complacent and must braceourselves for any eventuality by training in Disaster Management including Fire Fighting. The Diocesan / Archdiocesen Pastoral Council of each state and union territory can take the lead by appointing Disaster Management Committeeswhich will arrange fortrainingof youths from each parish. Separate collection can be made on Sunday Masses and a fund created for this purpose. APC can avail of the services of two well-known Christian NGOs who specialize in Disaster Management training. They are:
World Vision India, 5th Floor, 83 Linton St, Entally, Kolkata 700014.
- Contact: Joachim AshimCampoo, Manager 65448846. Mobile 9903866536
Lutheran World Service India Trust, 84 Dr Suresh Sarkar Road, Kolkata 700014
- Contact: Dr S.C. Garai, Tel. 23659872, Mobile 9434521431.
There will be contacts of these and reputed organisations in other states of India.
In view of the current and emerging social situation, we must also deliberate on Preventive Healthcare and security measures of the community and the church institutions, on a pan-India basis. We must also have a strong and centralized Christian Lawyers’ forum to advocate against attacks on Christians and their properties.
ISAAC HAROLD GOMES
MEMBER – ICPA