Volunteer Ministers to the Rescue in Nepal
The time was 11:56 a.m. The place, Nepal. The date: April 25, 2015. In a matter of minutes, more than 8,800 unsuspecting people would die, crushed inside and under collapsed buildings as the ground shook during a monstrous 7.8 earthquake—the most violent seismic event this nation has suffered in more than 80 years.
In that short span of time an estimated 800,000 structures were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving three and a half million Nepalis homeless. Help was needed immediately to save those buried alive in the rubble and to feed the 1.4 million people in dire need of nourishment.
Binod Sharma, the director of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VMs) in Nepal, was among the first responders. Having been a VM since 2010, he knew immediately what had to be done. Arriving first to witness the aftermath of the disaster in Kathmandu, Binod came with more than 60 fellow Volunteer Ministers, hailing from more than 20 different countries—India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Denmark, Australia, Qatar, Afghanistan and even a VM from New York.
Soon afterward, the volunteers were joined by Los Topos, the famed “moles” from Mexico who established their worldwide reputation for pulling survivors from great tangled piles of rubble since their impressive debut following the 1985 Mexico City quake.
Binod’s first order of business was to contact the most affected areas of Nepal and learn what they needed desperately. First stop: Bhaktapur whose 225,000 people were left utterly homeless as their town had totally collapsed.
Later, in the small village of Singati, the Volunteer Ministers teamed with Los Topos to recover 130 persons buried under the debris. Once freed, the survivors received food, clean water and generators to return them to some semblance of civilization.
More help was on the way throughout the devastated countryside, owing to the preparation of many thousands of meal packs. By the end of the rescues, more than 11,500 meal packs went to starving survivors.
Next came the remarkable physical and spiritual first aid—the latter technique developed by L. Ron Hubbard to relieve pain of the body and the mind. The Volunteer Ministers also served as assistants to doctors, cleaning wounds and providing medications called for by the medics.
Finally, where shelters needed building, the Volunteer Ministers were there to build them. They arrived with the raw building materials and were ready to begin construction. By the end of the emergency, the VMs had built 213 shelters.
For the VMs, the end of any emergency is just the beginning, for as in other disasters, a permanent Volunteer Ministers center was established in Kathmandu. Here, new VMs are trained—more than 48,000 since the earthquake.
After so much dedication, is it any wonder why the Nepalese people didn’t want the VMs to leave?
As Binod, noted, “They have a feeling for us—as like their family.”