Sister Aisha meets with Caritas International partners for the earthquake relief efforts, view more photos here.

SCNs Aisha Kavalakkattu and Malini Manjoly attended the Caritas Solidarity Conference’ conducted by the Caritas Nepal in partnership with Caritas Internationalis and its forty Confederations of Caritas family on the first anniversary of the Gorkha earthquake at Dhulikhel, Kathmandu on April 25, 2016.

During the inauguration of the solidarity event, His Excellency Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Ambassador of Vatican to Nepal/India lit a candle to remember those who lost their lives in the quake and the group observed two minutes silence.

In presenting a comprehensive relief report and the learning, Mr. Maninda Malla of Caritas Nepal said after the first quake on April 25 with its epicenter in Gorkha (7.8 magnitude) and the second one on May 12 with its epicenter in Dolakha (7.3 magnitude) Caritas Nepal responded with youthful zest, love and patriotism at heart to save lives and give hope to the people. He also said there were 447 aftershocks until April 12, 2016. There had been major earthquakes in 1934, 1980, 1988 and 2011. Almost every third generation Nepalis experience a major earthquake, he further added.

The global Caritas family supported Nepal with materials and human resources. They channeled funds through various agencies to bring immediate relief to the survivors of the quake.

The church and the religious congregations were able to reach out to 126,080 households in the 16 most affected districts with immediate relief materials, temporary shelters, WASH program, winterization, supported 313 schools, established 42 Temporary Learning Centers and reached out directly to 20,340 students, said Father Roy Sebastian, the director of Nepal Jesuit Social Work Institute.

They were able to address not only the immediate needs but also the special needs of children, women, mobilized resources and volunteers, coordinated with other actors, supported the recovery needs and the coping capacity of the affected communities.

The major challenges faced were remoteness of the area to reach the relief materials, restricted mobility, policy limitation of the government, identifying the most vulnerable families, blockades and lack of fuel and co-ordination constraints.

Food, non food items (clothes, blankets, vessels, household items, first aid kits), water (drinking water tank), livelihood support, shelter materials, health care services, space for people to live and safe spaces for the vulnerable and psycho-social support system were some of the major interventions of the church and the religious groups for the survivors of the quake.

The government of Nepal has taken various pro-active steps to speed up the reconstruction phase by finalizing the reconstruction policy. The National Reconstruction Authority has published the international/non-governmental organization mobilization guideline. Information booklet for housing grant is released and the design catalogue for reconstruction is produced, etc.

In his message, His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, never forget to remember and touch the wounds of our brothers and sisters to heal again and again. He also said never forget to see and touch the wounds of our mother earth.

Other prominent persons present were Honorable minister of culture, tourism and civil aviation, Mr. Aananda Pokharel, Most Rev. Bishop Isao Kikuchi from Japan and the Bishop of Nepal, Most Rev. Paul Simick. Over hundred international and national delegates from various Caritas family attended the first day of the three-day conference.

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