(Vatican 2015-05-02) After an appeal launched by the Apostolic Vicar of Nepal, Bishop Paul Simick, the charitable ‎organizations of various faiths and Christian Churches have decide to unite under the ‎leadership of Caritas of the Catholic Church to launch a joint operation to help quake survivors. ‎Officials of the local Caritas will lead the operation, supported by Caritas India and Australia. At the ‎moment, dozens of religious NGOs have
responded positively to the appeal. According to Bishop ‎Narayan Sharma of “Believers Church, and Evangelical community, "prayers are not enough to heal an ‎open wound and don’t feed those who live outdoors. Prayer is fundamental, but it is important also to ‎serve those in need. We still need international support, " he said. ‎

Mohammad Sannaulha, imam of Jame mosque in Kathmandu, told AsiaNews: "Those who are ‎suffering today are our brothers and sisters in Nepal, their religion does not matter. It should not divide ‎us, we must indeed be united as much as possible to make our aid more effective. We are happy that ‎the Catholics lead this, because they were the first to respond after the disaster."‎ The Venerable Renchen, representative of the Buddhist community, and Manohar Prasad Sah of the ‎Hindu community said:"We are doing our best, and when religions come together they can meet ‎the basic needs of the people. Solidarity, peace and charity are concepts shared by all".‎

Meanwhile, Nepal's government renewed its appeal to international donors to send tents, tarpaulins and basic food supplies in the wake of last weekend's devastating earthquake. The government also asked donors to send money to help with relief efforts if they cannot send things that are immediately necessary. Information Minister Minendra Rijal said Nepal would immediately need 400,000 tents and so far has been able to provide only 29,000 to the people who need them.

Nepal government exempted tarpaulins and tents from import taxes on Friday, but United Nations Resident Representative Jamie McGoldrick told Reuters the government had to loosen customs restrictions further to deal with the increasing flow of relief material. "They should not be using peacetime customs methodology," he said. Material was piling up at the Kathmandu airport instead of being ferried out to victims, McGoldrick said.

A week after the massive earthquake on April 25 killed more than 6,600 people and collapsed buildings, temples and homes, remote villages remain cut off from help, aid workers still face ``immense logistical challenges,'' U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said Friday, noting that the scale of the devastation in Nepal would be an obstacle for any government. The U.N. has estimated the magnitude-7.8 affected 8.1 million people _ more than a fourth of Nepal's population of 27.8 million. The government announced it was giving the equivalent of $1,000 to families of each person killed and another $400 for funeral costs, state-run Nepal Radio said Friday.

More than 130,000 houses were destroyed in the quake, according to the U.N. humanitarian office. Near the epicenter, north of Kathmandu, whole villages were in ruins, and residents were in desperate need of temporary shelters against the rain and cold. Isolated hamlets are still cut off because scarce helicopters can't land in some mountainous areas, and roads have often been destroyed, said Amos, who flew over some of those places during a three-day visit. Tents and tarpaulins are the most urgent need, but there's also a demand for water, food, health care and better sanitation. Debris must be removed, bodies recovered, and officials need to determine which buildings are too dangerous to enter, Amos said. The U.N. Children's Fund, or UNICEF, said Friday that in the past 48 hours, it had delivered nearly 30 metric tons of supplies, including tents, water purification tablets and first aid and hygiene kits.