A magnitude 7.8 or 8.1 Mw earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015, causing tremendous casualties, destroying untold numbers of buildings, and reducing many historic sites to rubble. It is still too early to have an accurate estimate of lives lost, with many places still inaccessible, and rescue work facing multiple challenges. Both the emotional and economic impact of this earthquake will prove immense.
On April 26th, Rinpoche helped UTBF launch the Buddhist Relief Services project. The monks and nuns of the Trungram Monastic Institute (Dhakten Nyincheling) in Nepal are helping residents even though they themselves are in need of help. UTBF Centers in Asia are preparing relief efforts, and fund-raising has begun.
As of April 28th, initial estimates of the death toll have passed 4600; the UN estimates the number of victims at 1.6 million. UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, said Sunday that nearly 1 million Nepalese children urgently need assistance. These people need food and medical assistance, among other things.
As for the monastic communities in Nepal under Rinpoche's guidance, the Trungram Monastery in Nepal, popularly known as the Sankhu Monastery is heavily damaged, and its buildings are unusable. The monks, many of whom are children and some of whom are orphans, have lost their home. Fortunately, both the nunnery in Baudha, Kathmandu, and the World Center for Peace and Unity, opened just 4 years ago at the UN cultural heritage site in Lumbini, are both undamaged.