Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Longtime local and international partnerships spur response to earthquake emergency.
People survey a site damaged by an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 25, 2015. The shallow earthquake measuring 7.9 magnitude struck west of the ancient Nepali capital of Kathmandu on Saturday; killing more than 100 people, injuring hundreds and leaving a pall over the valley, doctors and witnesses said. Photo: REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

United Methodists Respond to Nepal Quake

April 27, 2015—The General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, through its disaster-relief arm and in conjunction with longtime local and international partners and Nepal-based Global Ministries missionaries, is responding to the devastating earthquake that rocked Nepal April 25.

Today, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Global Ministries’ relief and development unit, approved a grant of $90,000 for international partner GlobalMedic to bring sorely needed clean water to survivors through provision of household and public water-filtration units.

A man runs past damaged houses as aftershocks of an earthquake are felt a day after the earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal April 26, 2015.
A man runs past damaged houses as aftershocks of an earthquake are felt a day after the earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal April 26, 2015. Rescuers dug with their bare hands and bodies piled up in Nepal on Sunday after the earthquake devastated the heavily crowded Kathmandu valley, killing at least 1,900, and triggering a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. Photo: REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

UMCOR also is in conversation with United Mission to Nepal (UMN), a partner in community-based health and education projects in Nepal for more than 60 years.

“Global Ministries has been in mission with the people of Nepal a long time, and that is a great grace in this time of need,” said Thomas Kemper, who heads the organization.  “Our long-established and current work in the communities, especially through UMN, spurs our response.”

That response is assisted further by the fact that UMN had the foresight to assign one of its officers to participate in UMCOR’s most recent regional disaster readiness and response training, which was just held in the Philippines in February.

Rev. J. Denise Honeycutt, who leads UMCOR, pointed out that the regional trainings “fortify our partners’ capacity to respond quickly and efficiently to crises. The technical training UMN received helps UMCOR connect with UMN to respond to the most vulnerable people impacted by this earthquake.”

All Global Ministries Missionaries Accounted For

Casualties and the full extent of the damage caused by the quake, which struck at 11:41 a.m. local time, are still being determined. At least 3,700 people are known to have died and 6,500 were injured, according to news reports, but search and rescue operations continue. Countless people are homeless.

All five Global Ministries missionaries serving in Nepal, and their families, have reported that they are safe. Dr. Lester Dornon and his wife Debbie were in the United States on missionary itineration. Dr. Mark Zimmerman, his wife Deirdre and their children, and Katherine Parker were all in-country, but unharmed in the event.

Mark Zimmerman, who serves with the Nick Simons Institute (NSI), which trains and supports skilled rural healthcare workers, wrote in an email that aftershocks have continued, electric power has been cut and few shops are open. “All of us in Nepal thank you for your thoughts and prayers over the coming days and weeks,” he wrote.

Parker reported that she was traveling with a group from UMN in Pokhara, and was away from her home in the capital when the quake struck. “Reports from friends back in Kathmandu are that tension levels are high with the 20 plus aftershocks, many of which have been 5/6+,” she wrote in an email.

How You Can Help

As events and needs continue to unfold in Nepal in the aftermath of the earthquake, you can help.

  • Pray for all who have been impacted by this emergency: for the people of Nepal, for Global Ministries and UMCOR partners at work on the ground there, and for Global Ministries’ five missionaries and their families assigned to serve there.
  • Do not self-deploy to the disaster area. The situation in Nepal remains one of search and rescue and not a time for volunteers.
  • Give to UMCOR International Disaster Response, Advance #982450. Your gifts to UMCOR International Disaster Response make it possible for UMCOR to respond quickly to emergency situations through our local and international partners.
  • Stay informed. Visit www.umcor.org and www.umcmission.org for updates and developments regarding Global Ministries’ and UMCOR’s response to and accompaniment of survivors.
  • Download this bulletin insert on the Nepal earthquake. Use this to inform your congregation on how Global Ministries and UMCOR are responding.