Leprosy Mission Nepal thank NI for support

Mayor Thomas Beckett with Joanne Briggs, director of the Leprosy Mission NI, Laxima Kendel, Shovakhar Kandel, director of the Leprosy Mission in Nepal, and Mark Noble, chairman of the Leprosy Mission board. US1539-551cd  Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Mayor Thomas Beckett with Joanne Briggs, director of the Leprosy Mission NI, Laxima Kendel, Shovakhar Kandel, director of the Leprosy Mission in Nepal, and Mark Noble, chairman of the Leprosy Mission board. US1539-551cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The leader of the Leprosy Mission Nepal recently paid a visit to Lisburn’s Leprosy Mission offices to say thanks to the people of Northern Ireland.

Shovakhar Kandel was in the UK on April 25, and due to visit Northern Ireland, when a violent earthquake struck Nepal.

Measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, it caused untold damage.

The death toll of the earthquake stands today at 8,959, with many more thousands injured, and 250,000 homes destroyed.

Mr Kandel didn’t make it to Northern Ireland, cutting his visit short in order to return and deal with the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Last week, he told the story of how The Leprosy Mission in Nepal has brought life saving emergency relief to thousands of people and, through the support of people in Northern Ireland, are helping restore individuals, families and communities.

“I received word that our hospital – Anandaban, had been badly damaged by the earthquake, along with most of the housing of the 100 staff members of TLM Nepal.

“As the horror of the earthquake unfolded before me on the news, I knew that I had to get home as soon as possible.

I arrived back, and found that the staff at the hospital, despite losing their homes, had worked nonstop providing care and treatment to the many victims.

“On my return we began to look outwards, and put together relief teams. They went out into the more remote areas, where we have ongoing community work amongst the poorest of the poor.”

To date, TLM Nepal has set up 15 emergency medical camps, treating over 1,500 people. They have also been able to provide over 1,400 emergency aid packages to families in great need.

With the monsoon season following close behind the earthquake, they managed to provide 1,300 shelters for people who had lost their homes.

Shovakhar added: “Sadly Anandaban Hospital is beyond repair, and as a result we have to demolish and rebuild it. It is the biggest leprosy referral hospital in Nepal, a country that still sees over 3,000 new cases of leprosy each year. We have been supported by The Leprosy Mission Northern Ireland and other countries across the world.

“They have collectively raised over £1,000,000. This has helped fund our massive relief effort, and it has also meant that we can start to rebuild the hospital. I would like to say thank you to the people of Northern Ireland for giving to Nepal Earthquake appeals in any way. The Leprosy Mission Northern Ireland appeal alone has raised nearly £60,000 so far.”

To complete the rebuilding of the hospital and to ensure that families are well supported through this difficult time, more help is needed.

To find out more about The Leprosy Mission or how you can support the vital ongoing work in Nepal please click on www.tlm-ni.org, call 028 9262 9500 or email info@tlm-ni.org