Emergency teams from U.S. faith-based humanitarian relief agencies are on the ground in northwest Ecuador after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that took the lives of at least 413 people. The April 16 quake destroyed more than 300 buildings, buckling overpasses and trapping drivers. More than 2,500 people were injured.
Lokesh Todi, born and raised in Kathmandu, moved home to Nepal nine months ago to be an entrepreneur. When the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit last Saturday, he and a cousin started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help connect concerned givers with local NGOs.
“We thought we could get some supplies to local groups. Our goal was to get $20,000 — that’s a lot of money in Nepal," said Todi, a recent graduate of Yale University's M.B.A program.
Thanks to their concerned networks, including thousands of shares from Todi’s Facebook page, the campaign has now raised $120,150 — more than six times the amount they expected.
“I’m really hoping to make sure that all this money goes to right channels, and make sure that every dollar is spent properly and wisely. My goal is to help the community build back stronger and a little bit more prepared,” said Todi.
About 80 percent of Nepalese are Hindu, making Nepal the second-largest Hindu nation outside of India, with about 2 percent of the global total. Most Hindus believe in a kind of fatalism, and many here seemed unrattled by the quake as a test of faith, even as their temples and shrines were flattened.
“God had predestined it. He knew about it,” said Suresh Shrestha, a Hindu and a hotel owner. His house was partially damaged and he is living in a tent on the Tundikhel ground in Kathmandu.
Akriti Mahajan, a young girl who was standing outside her family’s tent nearby, suspects that man-made climate change had something to do with it.
“Humans are behind it,” she said. “If God had a role, this wouldn’t have happened.”
This past week I had an opportunity to teach an intensive course on the book of Matthew. I enjoy these opportunities, not only to teach, but to look at and present a book from start to finish. Although it is not possible to delve into every detail found within the book, following the plot line from start to finish helps to pick up on themes and recurring events and/or elements that accentuate and highlight certain points throughout the broader story. It is easy to miss such connections when snippets and bits and pieces are read rather than reading the whole story from beginning to end.
One such theme is how unsettling — literally — the person of Jesus was. Throughout Matthew’s gospel we hear how Jesus shook the foundations of society.
An earthquake of 7.9 magnitude struck off the Philippines on Friday and a tsunami warning has been issued for the region, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The quake was centered off the east coast, 91 miles off the town of Guiuan in Samar province at a depth of about 20 miles, USGS said.
The tsunami warning was issued for the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea and other islands in the Pacific including the U.S. state of Hawaii.
"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The quake struck just before 8:50 p.m. local time, the agency said.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — It took 83 years to build the iconic Washington National Cathedral, but a rare East Coast earthquake last summer took just seconds to send carved stone finials tumbling from the heavens to the ground below.
Now, six months after the 5.8-magnitude quake, the cathedral is facing repair costs of at least $20 million, and a reconstruction timeline that could stretch out a decade or more.
The bill to fix the iconic church is now at least $5 million more than original estimates, said church officials, who are still working to stabilize the building, repair its intricate stonework and raise money to continue the restoration.
So far, donations for repairs have reached $2 million, or 10 percent of the predicted cost.