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Chabad Center in Nepal a Crisis Hub After Massive Earthquake

Chabad Center in Nepal a Crisis Hub After Massive Earthquake

More than 2,200 killed, with thousands injured and missing as aftershocks continue

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Rabbi Chezky and Chani Lifshitz at the Chabad center in Kathmandu, Nepal, where they have been working with volunteers to help locate the missing, and to provide food, shelter and medical care to others after a massive earthquake hit the capital city. (All images from a non-Jewish photographer)
Rabbi Chezky and Chani Lifshitz at the Chabad center in Kathmandu, Nepal, where they have been working with volunteers to help locate the missing, and to provide food, shelter and medical care to others after a massive earthquake hit the capital city. (All images from a non-Jewish photographer)

Hundreds of Israeli backpackers and tourists took refuge at the Chabad center in Kathmandu, Nepal, after a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the capital city shortly before noon on Saturday. Some were given emergency medical treatment there as emissaries and volunteers worked frantically to help locate the missing, and to provide food and shelter to the stranded. More than 2,200 people have been confirmed killed thus far, with thousands more injured and missing.

The quake’s damage reached Mount Everest and beyond, setting off an avalanche that killed at least 18 mountain-climbers at base camp, and trapping hikers and backpackers at the start of the climbing season. There are currently no known Israeli deaths from the catastrophe, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Chabad emissaries there, though as many as 150 remain unaccounted for as the death toll continues to climb. Fatalaties have also been reported in China and India.

Chani Lifshitz, who co-directs Chabad of Nepal with her husband, Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz, said in a video posted to their Facebook page that a few hundred people had taken refuge at the center, which was slightly damaged by the quake. She tried to reassure loved ones in Israel and abroad. Thousands of Israeli backpackers and foreign tourists—many of them in their 20s—pass through Nepal and the Chabad House each year.

“We’re trying to calm everyone,” she said, noting that they were experiencing aftershocks even as she was recording the video.

“We’re still gathering the names of the missing, and we’re trying to get in touch with everyone as urgently as possible,” she said. “Until now, we’ve taken care of a number of injured on the couches of the Chabad House. The main work now is to gather all the names of the people—the people who are in Kathmandu, the people who are in the mountains. We hope to report only good news.”

Working closely with the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Nepal, emergency medical treatment to the injured was given at the Chabad House by backpackers who served as medics in the Israel Defense Forces and from local volunteers. The injured were later moved to the Israeli embassy, which is working to provide Israelis in Nepal with a means to return home. From Israel, planes were flying medics and others to the embattled area to help with search and rescue.

Shelter was provided for hundreds of people.
Shelter was provided for hundreds of people.

Satellite Phones a Link to the Missing

Only weeks earlier, Chabad had provided a number of hikers with satellite phones so they could be reached in an emergency, and those phones provided a key link to some of the survivors after the quake.

Liav Zakai, whose son Shahar is a backpacker stuck in a trek in Kyanjin Gompa in Nepal, told Ynet Israeli news service that at least 13 Israelis and other nationals were aground in a village area that was completely destroyed in the quake. Zakai said the Israelis—texting home using his satellite phone—reported some locals from their group were killed.

The phones are linked to a computerized system at the Chabad center to locate users. The Lifshitzes were working throughout the night with volunteers and authorities to contact or at least provide locations for those still missing.

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

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Backpackers and tourists at the center after the quake, which occurred around noon on Saturday. Afteshocks continued into the night.
Backpackers and tourists at the center after the quake, which occurred around noon on Saturday. Afteshocks continued into the night.
Food and companionship at the Chabad center as tourists and others gather for assistance.
Food and companionship at the Chabad center as tourists and others gather for assistance.
Video: Chani Lifshitz Speaks from Nepal


By Chabad.org Staff
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Discussion (12)
April 30, 2015
Hi How can I Donate a box a clothing to Chabad Nepal ( I have a clothing line)
Anonymous
April 27, 2015
Rebbetsin chani ur so amazing I remember u speaking at the kinnis after the terrible tragedy in Mumbai
Rochelle
Irvine USA
April 26, 2015
Hi, we are looking for Federico Waksman, a 25 year-old guy from Uruguay.
Anonymous
April 26, 2015
To Lois Canter
You can donate via Chabad.org/nepal Thank you!
Chabad.org staff
mychabad.org
April 26, 2015
donation info
How do I make a donation to help?
Lois Canter
Mt Laurel
April 26, 2015
What a wonderful thing Chabad are doing. Wherever help is needed Chabad is there.
Maxine
Cape Town
April 26, 2015
to Diane
Chabad of Nepal is assisting everyone, not only Israelis, feel free to pass the message along that they should go to Chabad house.

Thank you for assisting Chabad Nepal with their holy work! You can donate via http://tinyurl.com/mn57rdd
Chabad.org Staff
mychabad.org
April 26, 2015
This is a wonderful effort, and our Jewish/Israeli travelers are blessed to have Chabad there for them! Such excellent work!

I was wondering, does Chabad have an action team or connection to the relief organizations coming in to help the local population yet?
Michelle
NM, USA
April 26, 2015
Amazing
I am not a chabadnik nor very orthodox but where ever there is a disaster Chabad will be there. They make us Proud!
Mervyco
Cape Town RSA
April 26, 2015
Jewish Americans near Chabad Nepal & need help
B"H For the great work. I realize that you are working with the Israel Embassy, but my friend's nephew & friend (med students on vacation) are near Chabad House. Is it possible for someone at Chabad Nepal to work with the U.S. Embassy for the Jewish Americans there, too? The friend contacts his father to say they are okay, but are n need of help. I forwarded the story to my friend in Baltimore for her nephew.

How can we help your work there? If we donate on Chabad.org, will you get our donations?
Diane
Albuquerque, NM
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