Earthquake in Afghanistan
Northeastern Afghanistan was struck this morning by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake which also affected parts of both Pakistan and northern India. The epicentre occurred near the town of Faisabad in the Afghan province of Badakhshan which borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China.
We are unlikely to know full extent of the damage and the number of casualties for several days because of the region is so remote and the area affected is widespread. Initial reports indicate that at least 76 people were killed and 268 injured in Afghanistan, and a further 230 killed and more than 1,600 injured in Pakistan.
Although the depth of the epicentre reduced the extent of surface level tremors, an earthquake of this magnitude is still likely to have caused considerable damage and human suffering. So far at least 4,000 homes are reported to have been damaged.
- For people who those who have lost loved ones – for God to bring them comfort and strength in this difficult time and over the coming days.
- For families whose homes have been damaged or destroyed. Pray that God will enable them to find shelter and the resources and support to cope in the next few months and begin to rebuild and recover as quickly as possible.
- That those responding with humanitarian aid to the affected communities will be able to respond swiftly and effectively, despite the significant security challenges of the region.
- For the safety of those in the region as potential aftershocks occur.
- Thank God that Tearfund’s partner and country staff in both Afghanistan and Pakistan are safe
Elections in Ivory Coast
The Ivory Coast has suffered ongoing turmoil since the first coup d’etat in 1999. The nation was split in 2002, with rebels seizing the north whilst the government maintained power in the south. Many lives were lost and sexual violence was used as a weapon of war on both sides. The 2010 elections resulted in violent conflict, with 3,000 people killed.
Overcoming more than a decade of political war and civil turmoil, a presidential election will take place on Sunday 25 October.
‘We hope the election process will be peaceful. Please pray that God will work through it to restore Ivory Coast to the haven of peace, stability and prosperity it once was. We are believing for this,’ says Richard Yao, head of Tearfund’s work there.
Central African Republic
Relative calm has returned to the country – thank you for praying for an end to civil unrest and violence. Our staff and partners are hard at work helping people displaced from their homes, providing psychosocial as well as practical support to 2,785 internally displaced persons (IDPs) so far.
Our partner FATEB is training to team of community counsellors. This will enable those who are deeply traumatised by violence and upheaval to receive spiritual and emotional support in a way that is safe and comfortable for them. The team from FATEB is also conducting daily prayer and worship meetings, and ensuring pastors are available to talk and pray with people.
In addition, FATEB is making sure that taps providing drinking water in camps are in good working order, making repairs where necessary, and will soon be distributing emergency supplies including food.
- Pray for the team from FATEB as they serve those who have lost loved ones, property and livelihoods, that they will have Godly wisdom and insight on how best help individuals and families.
- Lift up those who are traumatised and fearful of future attacks, ask God to comfort and draw near to them.
- Pray for CAR to change from a country divided and destroyed by war and violence, to a nation of peace where God’s presence reigns.
- Ask God to protect our staff members and those from other organisations as they reach out to displaced families in a volatile and tense environment.
Six months on from the Nepal quake
Meet the man who stood under a door – Salmone Tamang, a pastor in North Dhading, Nepal, had been trained by our partner United Mission to Nepal (UMN) in how to respond to earthquakes. Ironically, Salmone was right in the middle of sharing this training with others when the earthquake hit and his church started to collapse.
Salmone got his audience to shelter under the strongest part of the building, below the windows and main door. ‘I’m really grateful to UMN for providing this training for us, because people in the church, including me, saved our lives,’ said Salmone.
UMN also trains those who live in Nepal’s remote, mountainous areas, where communications are poor. Waiting for outside help isn’t an option and saving survivors can be a race against time. UMN staff teach basic search and rescue skills, including how to care for the injured. In the community of Ree, where the quake killed more than 70 people, this knowhow meant they were able to rescue at least 40 people.
Six months since the earthquake, thanks to your generous prayers and gifts we’ve been able to distribute emergency aid, water purification kits and shelter materials to thousands of people. The focus for long-term work is rebuilding sanitation systems, and constructing earthquake-resilient buildings – including training 180 stonemasons. We’ve helped more than 150,000 people so far.
Douwe Dijkstra, Head of Tearfund’s work in Nepal, says, ‘Tearfund is now starting the next phase of recovery work, which includes supporting families to regain livelihoods. We’ll also be continuing efforts to better prepare poor communities for future disasters.’
Let’s thank God and continue to pray.
- Due to Salmone’s training and quick thinking he was able to help others at the height of the earthquake – thank God for the lives saved.
- Pray for Tearfund and UMN staff in Nepal, that they would be able to reach those in most need. Pray they’ll know God’s strength as they do this essential work.
- Pray for Nepal as a whole, that its people will become more and more able to survive and respond to future disasters.
Prayer for Mexico
Mexico is currently bracing for the impact of Hurricane Patricia, a Category 5 hurricane due to hit the coast of Mexico on Friday evening.
Six states of western and southern Mexico are preparing for the impact with emergency services on high alert and preparing emergency shelters for those living in coastal areas. Mexico’s National Disaster Fund reports that some 400,000 people live in areas vulnerable to being hit by the storm.
The hurricane is anticipated to have winds of up to 200mph and rainfall of up to 12 inches, having the potential to cause significant flooding and destruction in some areas.
- For God’s protection of those in the path of the storm and that the damage will be minimal
- That those currently being evacuated will be able to reach safe shelters quickly
- For local authorities and emergency services to be able prepare effectively and respond quickly to any damage or cases of injuries.
- For the storm to dissipate quickly and not cause further significant damage as it passes across Mexico
John Gravett – Tearfund Representative