Nepal Earthquake Survivors Flock To Chabad

Nepal Earthquake Survivors Flock To Chabad

Trekkers sleeping in the courtyard of the Chabad House.

by Rosie Jacobs - Kathmandu, Nepal

April 25, 2015

In the midst of Shabbat morning prayers at the Chabad House in Kathmandu, Nepal, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the country. The death toll is now at 1800, thousandsands more injured.

“The buildings in Nepal shook, the wind was blowing buildings like paper in the air. Houses are unsafe and the electricity is out,” reports Rabbi Chezki Lifshitz, Chabad representative to the country together with his wife Chani. “The sight is horrific—many are walking around with open wounds.”

Nepal is a magnet for thousands of Israeli tourists who trek the Himalayas. The Chabad center serves as the home base for Jewish tourists to the country, and is now caring for the injured. 

“We have arranged for food and medical staff to care for the injured at the Chabad House,” says Lifshitz, adding that there are some two-thousand Israelis currently in the country. “Hundreds of Israelis are making their way to the Chabad House for food and shelter.”

Recently the Chabad center has arranged for trekkers to take satellite phones with them, giving them access to call the Chabad House, even when cellphone towers are out of reach. Many have now used the phones to reach the Chabad representatives, to let them know that they have no serious injuries.

“Many are in towns where there are no standing houses due to the earthquake,” the rabbi says. While there may be no food in those locations, he says that it is not cold, and sleeping outside is okay now. Arrangements are being made to bring the trekkers to Kathmandu.

“I am calling on anyone in Nepal to not sleep in any buildings, they are not safe and may fall during the aftershocks,” Chani posted on her Facebook page, saying that at the Chabad House everyone is sleeping warmly under the stars in sleeping bags. 

Those wishing to donate to the Chabad relief and recovery efforts in Nepal can do so Here

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