Missionaries in Nepal are urging believers to send physical and monetary assistance to the country as thousands of people continue to suffer from a lack of food, shelter and medicine as the humanitarian crisis escalates.
According to a report from Christian Aid Mission, an organization assisting more than 500 ministries overseas, thousands of victims of last year's earthquakes are still living under tarps in Nepal's freezing winter temperatures, while a blockade on the border with India has cut off supplies of fuel, electricity, food and medicines.
Even worse -- prices for firewood and black market fuel to stay warm have risen beyond victims' means to pay, causing illnesses to further take their toll.
"People are dying from lack of medicine," said one ministry leader based in Nepal. "Kindly pray for Nepalese people affected by the earthquakes who are dying because of the cold and not having enough clothes."
"There are thousands of people without shelter after the horrific earthquake," he added. "In this frozen winter, most of them are staying under the tarpaulin sheets and under old tin sheets, even after the huge contributions made by the Nepal government. We are still trying to construct some more simple houses for our believers in Resuwa District who are living under tarpaulins after the earthquake."
Last month, UNICEF released a statement that said that more than three million children under the age of five are at risk of death or disease during Nepal's harsh winter months, because of a severe shortage of fuel, food, medicines and vaccines.
While Christians living in Nepal are in "prime position to provide locally available clothes, blankets, firewood and food," they lack the funds to provide such necessities.
"We want to support quake victims with warm clothes for their immediate needs and rebuild churches that are totally damaged, but we don't have enough finances," a native ministry leader said.
She also lamented the lack of raw materials in the landlocked country, negatively affecting all aspects of daily life: "There's no cooking gas, so firewood has been used to cook food for some time, but then that became difficult to get too, since there is no transportation to bring wood even if it were available," she said, adding that rain soaked all her firewood one night. "I am boiling hot water with a rice cooker for tea and other needs. What can I say except to plead for God's mercy upon my country, and wisdom for political leaders to think and act properly."
The blockade, which was imposed in September by the Indian government and supported by the ethnic Madhesis in the south of the country, caused price hikes that pushed an estimated 700,000 people below the poverty line and cost more than 200,000 workers their jobs.
A ministry leader said electricity is often cut for 12 hours a day, food and transportation prices have tripled, and "people have gone back to the stone age, cooking on firewood."
Another Christian leader noted that on one-day electric power was cut off for 19 hours, limiting the ability to pump water from water tanks.
"We've had to spend more money since the blockade has made life so difficult," he said. "There's no gas for cooking, and cooking on firewood is also very expensive. Food prices are 10 times higher, and there's no fuel so people have to jump onto a crowded bus, even on the roof of it, or walk."
"Due to the lack of rain, the farmers couldn't cultivate the second season crops like wheat, barley and corn," he added. "The U.N. has already warned about an inevitable famine in the near future. It is now high time to show the love of our dear Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim the hope in Him."
An indigenous ministry assisted by Christian Aid Mission is currently seeking funds to purchase 1,000 warm blankets for impoverished people suffering from the cold winter, and it would also like to buy clothes for children.
Another ministry requests financial help to install solar panels at two children's homes, a Bible college and the director's residence.
"If there is no light, how difficult would that be for children and students?" she said. "The situation has not changed, but we are praying and hoping. Thank you for praying."
To learn how you can help, visit Christian Aid Mission's website.