Missionaries of Charity asked to get permission for aid work in Nepal;

 

“This is the first time we are facing such a situation,” Sr. Marica told Catholic News Service as the convoy of five vehicles took to the dusty mountain path to Khani Dhanda.

 
A member of the Missionaries of Charity helps distribute relief items to earthquake victims May 16 in the mountains overlooking Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. (CNS photo/Anto Akkara)

Nepal: Members of the Missionaries of Charity had to spend more than two hours waiting at police headquarters for clearance before they could deliver food, blankets and other promised relief to earthquake victims in a remote mountainous area of Nepal.

The group of six sisters, eight brothers and about six volunteers had asked for police accompaniment on their May 16 mission because, on an earlier trip, they had been accosted by looters while carrying aid to people trapped in the mountains overlooking Kathmandu Valley.

But from the Missionaries of Charity center for destitute women at Mitra Park in Kathmandu, the police escorts diverted the vehicles carrying relief material to police offices in Lalitpur District, one of the three districts in the Kathmandu Valley. The officers insisted that government permission was required for relief distribution.

After the intervention of Bishop Paul Simick of Nepal, Chief District Officer Yadav Prasad Koirala let the group get on their way but warned that, in the future, the missionaries should leave relief distribution to the government.

The nuns told the officials that they had distributed aid to more than 200 families in the Khani Dhanda mountain area and, with Catholic youth, had trekked eight hours to identify other needy families who had not been reached by relief groups.

“This is the first time we are facing such a situation,” Sr. Marica told Catholic News Service as the convoy of five vehicles took to the dusty mountain path to Khani Dhanda.

Sr. Armelle, the most senior of the Missionaries of Charity in the group, explained that they had purchased relief material from the market according to the requirements of the people after their preliminary visit. Rice, tarps, woolen blankets and other materials were packed into kit bags for distribution.

“In some areas, they asked for utensils. In other places, they asked for more rice,” Sr. Armelle said.

When the convoy reached Khani Dhanda, the Missionaries of Charity brothers unloaded the 140 kit bags, while the sisters lined up those who had been given coupons on the earlier visit.

Elderly women carried the relief materials in cane baskets on their heads.

Ram Bahadur Tamang, a student, said that recipients were grateful for the help, noting that, “except for (Buddhist) monks who came with rice, nobody has bothered to come here in three weeks.”

The Catholic Church is a major provider of relief in remote areas of Nepal after the nation was devastated in a magnitude-7.8 earthquake on April 25.

Source: Catholic News Service

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