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Supplies Rapidly Dwindling; Nepal Chabad Provides Shelter, Food and Hope to Backpackers

Supplies Rapidly Dwindling; Nepal Chabad Provides Shelter, Food and Hope to Backpackers

With no electricity or running water, a Chabad couple works to help the stranded and search for the missing

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Settling in for another night at the Chabad House in Kathmandu, Nepal—co-directed by Rabbi Chezky and Chani Lifshitz—which has been serving as a makeshift crisis center and shelter after a massive earthquake struck Saturday near the nation's capital.
Settling in for another night at the Chabad House in Kathmandu, Nepal—co-directed by Rabbi Chezky and Chani Lifshitz—which has been serving as a makeshift crisis center and shelter after a massive earthquake struck Saturday near the nation's capital.

With supplies rapidly dwindling and nightfall settling over the nation, Chabad of Nepal continues to provide food and aid to those in need following a massive 7.8 earthquake Saturday that devastated the country and left much of the capital of Kathmandu in ruins.

“Chabad is serving hot meals to all comers every hour on the hour,” wrote Chabad emissary Chani Lifshitz on the official Chabad of Nepal Facebook page. “Kathmandu looks like a ghost town. Our electricity, phone service and water have been cut off, and little by little, our staples are running out.”

Relief efforts are taking on a renewed urgency as many residents in Kathmandu and other areas are sleeping outside on dirt, gravel, anywhere—away from broken, teetering buildings. Rain is forecast for the city, with temperatures likely to dip into the 50s overnight. Temperatures elsewhere in the country, such as up at the mountain base camps where hikers gather, hover at around 30 degrees.

Across Nepal, more than 2,200 people are reported dead and some 4,500 injured in the aftermath. Those numbers are expected to rise in the coming days as rescuers get closer to the epicenter of the quake region and continue to pick through the debris. Avalanches on Mount Everest have stranded hikers and caused at least 18 deaths. Major aftershocks—the strongest measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale—are causing additional damage as the Nepalese government pleads for international aid to arrive quickly. There is little food, water or shelter.

On the ground in the middle of it all, Rabbi Chezky and Chani Lifshitz—who direct the Chabad House of Kathmandu and the Chabad House of Pokhara in Nepal—have become the main link for hundreds of people, with their center a temporary haven for them.

There is no electricity, water or phone service to the Chabad center, and food is dwindling.
There is no electricity, water or phone service to the Chabad center, and food is dwindling.

Many young Israeli backpackers tour Nepal after finishing their military service back home. Despite the fact that the Chabad House sustained some damage, they have turned it into a crisis center and shelter, providing food and lodging.

“We are still here at the Chabad center (making a makeshift refugee camp, as it were),” Chani Lifshitz wrote online at 4 p.m. local time today, adding that “every effort by each and every one of you to help in any way will be greatly appreciated, whether it’s materially or spiritually ... .”

Indeed, Facebook in particular and social media in general have become crucial in getting out the word about in the dire situation in Nepal. As more than 150 Israelis remain unaccounted for, the Chabad couple is working with authorities and rescue organizations to compile updated lists of people who have either been found or remain missing.

Many of the stranded are young Israeli backpackers and tourists.
Many of the stranded are young Israeli backpackers and tourists.

Worst Disaster in 80 Years

Many have reported this to be the worst quake to hit the impoverished South Asian country in 80 years. The aftershocks have even reached neighboring nations.

Hospitals are overcrowded, with the government struggling to keep up with the wounded.

Israel has pledged to help in any way it can. Two El Al airplanes—one carrying medical personnel—are en route to Nepal. They are expected to arrive in the next few hours to help those on the ground and enable the evacuation of Israelis from the region, according to an airline spokesperson.

The Israel Defense Forces is also sending 260 trained personnel to deal with the earthquake’s aftermath. The military team will focus on search and rescue, creating a full field hospital that will be operational within 12 hours of landing. Other international aid workers and search-and-rescue teams are already on the scene or on their way as well.

Spending the night on tables, the gravel—wherever people can.
Spending the night on tables, the gravel—wherever people can.

An Essential Link

Sadly, this is not the Lifshitzes’ first brush with tragedy. Following a sudden blizzard in October that killed four Israelis and trapped some 250 others in the mountains and surrounding area, the couple became an essential link in assisting families with contacting their loved ones, providing basic supplies to those in need and visiting the injured at local hospitals.

They were also involved with the efforts to return the bodies of two Israeli women who were killed last year in a bus crash on a mountain road in Nepal.

The couple received an award from the Israeli government in recognition of their exemplary efforts regarding the blizzard, in addition to a certificate from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.

To help with the earthquake relief effort, visit the special relief fund page: www.chabad.org/nepal.

Staying warm and trying to keep up good spirits in the wake of continuing aftershocks.
Staying warm and trying to keep up good spirits in the wake of continuing aftershocks.
Placing personal items aside, as the Chabad center becomes a temporary haven.
Placing personal items aside, as the Chabad center becomes a temporary haven.
The temperatures, while mild during the day, were expected to get cooler at night and hover around 30 degrees in the mountains, where some are feared missing.
The temperatures, while mild during the day, were expected to get cooler at night and hover around 30 degrees in the mountains, where some are feared missing.
Sitting and waiting ... the only way to communicate so far has been through social media.
Sitting and waiting ... the only way to communicate so far has been through social media.
The earthquake is said to be the worst to hit the impoverished country in 80 years.
The earthquake is said to be the worst to hit the impoverished country in 80 years.
Israelis and others have been heading to the Chabad center. Chani Lifshitz says “Kathmandu looks like a ghost town.”
Israelis and others have been heading to the Chabad center. Chani Lifshitz says “Kathmandu looks like a ghost town.”


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David UK April 28, 2015

No Paypal facility to donate? Can you please enable donations to be made by PayPal?

Thanks Reply

Chabad.org Staff via mychabad.org April 27, 2015

To Susan Thank you very much for your interest in the great work of Chabad of Nepal. You can donate easily via http://chabad.org/nepal Reply

Susan Levitsky April 27, 2015

Where to donate. Please publish the place to donate in each article about the earthquake and on the home page of Chabad.org. I tried to copy the tiny url to this page but you wouldn't let me.
Everyone doesn't know to go to the web site of Chabad in Nepal, which takes donations in American money. Reply

Anonymous April 26, 2015

kol hakavod to chabad hashem is watching over you. Reply

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