Relief and grief for Kirk mission workers in Nepal

Houses destroyed in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: LWF Nepal

A Church of Scotland mission partner in Nepal has thanked well-wishers following Saturday's devastating earthquake in the country which has left thousands dead.

Malcolm Ramsay, formerly minister at Pitlochry Church of Scotland, has been out in Nepal with his wife Cati since 2011 where they are pastoral support workers for the United Mission to Nepal (UMN), the Church of Scotland's partner organisation there.

At least 3,617 people are now known to have died and more than 6,500 people have been injured when a violent and prolonged earthquake measuring 7.8 struck between Kathmandu and Pokhara. A list of six Scots missing in the region has been released by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

It lists Brian Allen, 41, from Edinburgh, Seobhan McGuigan, 41, from Edinburgh, Lynda Davis, 50, from Perth, Richard Jones, 59, from Glasgow, Susan McDonald, 41, from Dundee, and Mitchell Carpenter, 23, from Aberdeen, as missing.

Only 24 hours earlier the entire expatriate staff of UMN had travelled through the epicentre of the quake for the mission's annual four day retreat, which the Ramsays were leading.

A series of aftershocks continue to inflict further misery on a people struggling to recover from the original quake.

Mr Ramsay says: "We are profoundly grateful that we ourselves, along with the other UMN staff, are all unharmed physically. However we're all extremely shaken by what has happened and find the continuing aftershocks both alarming and unsettling. The challenge is balancing our relief at being alive with our heartfelt grief at the catastrophic consequences for so many people here.

"We are deeply touched by the scores of emails we have already received, expressing people's concern and prayers. The internet has been unreliable and this, coupled with the fact that we feel physically and emotionally drained, means that we can't reply to each one individually - for now at least. Every single email has made a tremendous difference. Thank you."

Senior UMN staff have returned to Kathmandu to coordinate the relief effort from there. You can keep up-to-date on their work at their website.

Follow updates from the Church of Scotland's World Mission Council Facebook page.

Donate to Christian Aid's Nepal Earthquake Appeal.