Former Hamilton vicar and wife make contact after quake

The former vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Forest Lake, Hamilton, has described the devastation in Kathmandu to ...
Natascha Garland

The former vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Forest Lake, Hamilton, has described the devastation in Kathmandu to supporters by email.

A former Hamilton vicar and his wife had to wait a day for the electricity to come back on in Nepal to tell supporters they were alright after Saturday's devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake which killed 2000 people.

Gabriel Jens, the former vicar of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Forest Lake, Hamilton, and his wife Biz emailed their supporters Sunday night after power restored.

"We were having a cup of coffee on our patio at around midday on Saturday when we all of a sudden were rocket out of our seats," the couple, in Kathmandu with a para-church organisation Serving In Mission (SIM), wrote. 

"We crouched next to the wall and sat through all the shaking that went on for what seemed like minutes. When it went quiet again we quickly left our fourth floor and gathered with neighbours in an open area across from our place. We looked around and saw walls that had collapsed, trees that had fallen and many of our houses that had lost their facades . . . It is worse in Thamel - the tourist area in middle of town - and also old buildings like temples have collapsed. Our area is much newer but there is still damage here."

The Jens moved to Kathmandu last year after 10 years at Holy Trinity Church to support local Christians who make up just 2.8 per cent of the population.  They spent the day contacting SIM colleagues in Nepal and said everyone is alright. 

"We have two SIM doctors in Lamjung which is near the epi centre and one in Tansen a little further west. They expect that from today (Sunday local time) a lot of villagers will come to the hospitals there."

"Some 15 of us stayed the night in a house that is only ground floor and has a tin roof, much safer than the big cement block buildings. We will stay there tonight as well.

"A friend said he would have expected much more damage for a 7.9 quake. He said that the quake was huge and he compared it to the many earthquakes he has had while living in Japan. He hasn't felt one this strong."

"Patten hospital had a well organised triage for the patients that came in . . . things are going pretty well and the army and police and medical personnel have responded well. We can hear helicopters at times and they ferry patients from the countryside to the Ktm (Kathmandu) hospitals. For the rest the streets are calm. 

"Some of us feel shaky and unsure about what is going to happen. It was terrifying at the time . . .  The embassies have told us to stay put and they will update us, but I don't think things are going to deteriorate unless we get hit by another big one. So at this time, we are OK."

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The couple ended their letter by asking for prayer for Nepal.

 - Stuff

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