Within the week of May 20 to May 26, the US Geological Survey, estimates that the chance of at least one magnitude of 5 to 6 is about 40% and up to three such events are likely to occur,” the U.S. body said in its latest weekly advisory for Nepal. Chances of aftershocks of magnitude 6 to 7 or higher were much less. More than any of us, the people of Christchurch will understand how Nepali people are feeling enduring the aftermath of the 7.9 earthquake of April 25. In the first hours after the earthquake a message was sent: ‘After 80 hours nightmare, we are more or less back to our normal life but no one is sure there won’t be any bigger aftershocks. Also I’m guessing there can be more terrible situation ahead as no clean water to drink, lack of medicine, food and tents. Please stretch your hands to support us.’ And another: ‘Bloody earthquake, this has made people fear a lot. I am laughing at religious people today. They think this is will of God. Then God has killed about 10 thousand people in Nepal. He is full of sin. He should be hanged because he took life of innocent and poor people. I have neither seen or communicated to him. Religious people if you have seen him, please tell me where is he, I will teach him morality and make at least like a kind human being.

Society for Humanism SOCH Nepal has been working hard to help with relief. They have been delivering relief supplies of tents to the devastated area of Sindhupalchok. Tents have also been handed out to residents from their Kathmandu Office. When helping with supplies for the village of Pawati, the truck was not able to negotiate the road so villagers had to walk down to the truck. SOCH Nepal members are also working with neighbourhood groups on projects. One project is the construction of portable toilets for delivery to devastated areas. With donations from individual persons and also the British Nepal Lawyers’ Association, toilets have been constructed to place over pits dug by villagers:’ As this is also the mobile toilets, if the pits get full we can easily move it to another place where we can build a new pit.’ The cost of the toilets is NZ$300 with free delivery. At time of writing the first consignment of toilets are ready for delivery. As SOCH Nepal members travel with their trucks delivering relief supplies they have messaged ‘I was in Dolakha to distribute relief materials. It’s close to last earthquake’s epicenter. Some towns are completely abandoned by people. It was like ghost town. Earlier thousand of people use to live here.’ Photos of Society for Humanism SOCH Nepal’s work can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sochnepa. Along with relief work SOCH Nepal is organising meetings to discuss the rebuilding of their country: ‘We could organize a purely informative program among experts and politicians today. We invited all guests at our school.’ SOCH Nepal is now beginning programmes for the children, organising activities and singing.  Schools were to reopen on 15 May but the 7.4 aftershock has delayed the return to school for another fortnight.

Humanist Society of NZ’s support for Ambience International School, Kathmandu: We would like to contribute towards long term support for SOCH Nepal’s Humanist School. Fortunately, as it was not a regular school day, no teachers or students were injured during the earthquake. Parent/teacher interviews were being held as it was the beginning of the new school year. Students from outside Kathmandu who board at the school were returning with parents. It was lunchtime when the earthquake struck. It was extremely loud, bricks from nearby buildings were falling and everything was shaking like leaves on a tree. On a regular school day there may have been injuries, if students had panicked while running down the building stairways to get outside. The building did not collapse but it is very badly cracked and thought to be unsafe. We are hoping that the vision of SOCH Nepal to provide secular, science based education developing critical thinking in their school students is able to be resumed soon. The school buildings have been inspected by engineers but we have not heard of the final assessment. Education for the children of Nepal is vital for their future as they will be part of their country’s rebuild. We already have our sponsorship programme in place. Society members are supporting 7 students. We would like to ask other members to consider supporting a student with payment of school fees. School fees are US$20 per month. The school has boarding facilities and it is customary for students from outside Kathmandu to attend schooling in Kathmandu. It may be possible that we could offer help for students to board at the school. Many outlying district school buildings have been destroyed. We are working on completing our Ambience School page on our Humanist webpage by mid June. We have been in touch with the Norfolk Humanists in the UK who have expressed an interest in helping as well.

If you have an interest in a long term commitment to secular, science based education for a young Nepali student please do contact us at [email protected] or you may make a lump sum donation for Nepal relief to bank account BNZ 02-0392-0094973-001.Please email us with the details of your transaction.