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    » 05/12/2015, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Earthquake in Nepal: more than 500 dead in the Christian community

    Christopher Sharma

    The victims were celebrating the religious ceremony when the quake hit: the day off in the country is Saturday, not Sunday. Dozens of churches - mostly housed in rented homes - have collapsed. No Catholic casualties.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - More than 500 Christians are estimated to have been killed by the earthquake in Nepal and dozens of churches destroyed. On the contrary, in the Catholic community there are no victims, nor was serious damage to places of worship reported. According to the religious authorities, the majority of deaths were caused by the collapse of churches: April 25th, when the earthquake struck was a Saturday, the weekly day of rest in Nepal when protestant communities gather to pray and hold services.

    "In Nepal - the Protestant Bishop Narayan Sharma told AsiaNews - Sunday is not a day off, so we celebrate functions weekly every Saturday. When the earthquake hit, we were in the middle of the service. "

    However, the imbalance in the number of victims Christian and Catholic is related to another factor: "We Christians - explains Sharma - have few churches properly built. In most cases we use rented homes to celebrate, but these buildings have structural problems. "

    There are few Catholic churches in Nepal, but they are properly built. Fr. Ignatius Rai, pastor of the Cathedral of the Assumption in Kathmandu, says: "We had no casualties, only a few injured and some minor damage."

    This is not the case of a collapsed seven-storey building in Kapan (Kathmandu), which hosted the Nepal Evangelical Church: more than 80 worshipers died. Gimire Raman, who was not present due to illness, said: "I lost my pastor and three members of my family, as well as other friends. It's hard to think about that day. "

    Evangelicals of the Assemblies of God World Missions claim that three of their churches were destroyed, and many faithful were killed. The same happened to the Christian Aid Mission.

    C.B. Gahatraj, a Protestant pastor and general secretary of the Christian Federation Nepal, says: "We have no exact data, we are trying to collect it. But we had huge losses. The churches we believe most at risk are in the districts of Gorkha, Nuwakot, Dhading, Sindhuli, Lamjung and Dolakha, some of the most devastated places.  In those areas we have more than 100 small churches.

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    See also

    30/03/2016 17:04:00 NEPAL
    Kathmandu: corruption and abuse cast a shadow on quake aid management

    Almost a year after the earthquake, thousands of people still live in emergency conditions, without electricity, water, and basic health services. Activists and international NGOs have denounced irregularities in the use of funds. Ordinary Nepalis complain about delays, inefficiencies and discrimination. The real victims "have not received anything."



    17/06/2015 NEPAL
    Earthquake in Nepal, Mount Everest moves three centimeters
    The China Daily study is not confirmed by Kathmandu. The Nepalese government complains of not having been consulted by Beijing. The earthquake has reversed the natural trajectory of the highest peak in the world and moved the capital by three meters.

    14/05/2015 NEPAL
    Nepal cancels all Everest expeditions for 2015
    The government's decision after the "Great Earthquake" made paths dangerous. 27 climbers have died in avalanches triggered by the earthquake, but hundreds are still buried under the snow. The heroism of Catholic and non-Catholic students at Jesuit college of St. Xavier, in Langtang to rescue survivors.

    05/05/2015 NEPAL
    Nepal: Government dismisses foreign volunteers. Thousands of earthquake victims still without food
    The authorities thank the international community for "generous support", but claim they "can continue rescue operations on their own". Criticism and complaints of diplomatic missions and NGOs over aid management. A survivor: "If it were not for the support of Christians and other charitable organizations, we would have died."

    27/04/2015 NEPAL
    Earthquake in Nepal: more than 3,500 dead. Caritas on frontline in rescue
    The toll is of tens of thousands of displaced and at least 20 thousand completely destroyed buildings. Catholic schools open to provide shelter to survivors. Rains hamper rescue operations. "Incalculable" the economic damage to the tourism sector, the primary source of income for the country.



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