Catoosa-Based Ministry Team Helping Victims Of Nepal Earthquake

Wednesday, April 29th 2015, 11:01 pm
By: News On 6

A local ministry team is on the ground in Nepal helping earthquake victims.

The massive earthquake killed more than 5,200 people and affected 8 million more, many of those are in immediate need of food and water.

One area non-profit didn't plan to help with relief efforts, but found themselves in the middle of the hardest hit area.

The Catoosa based group Global Ventures just happened to be in Nepal working on an upcoming project.

When the earth started shaking, they quickly changed their focus to helping those in need.

As the first planes arrived in Kathmandu Wednesday, carrying food from UNICEF, a Catoosa team has been working for days, giving out fresh food and water.

They were driving back to Kathmandu from a nearby village when the earthquake hit, said Global Ventures founder, John Smithwick.

"Their van started shaking. They turned around and realized it was an earthquake," he said.

When it stopped, Smithwick, said his team drove around and witnessed the destruction first-hand.

"They were going across the city, a city of millions. They only saw one or two UN trucks,” Smithwick said. "It became very clear that drinking water, clean drinking water, was the number one need of everybody."

Video shot by the Global Ventures team shows people running to get clean water, something missing from many villages for days.

The Catoosa-based team has been working with the Nepalese government to bring in truckloads of clean water.

"Even the police force didn't have clean water, so we were able to provide the police force with water," said Smithwick.

Tulsan Dave Young has been right in the middle of it all, handing out water bottles and food. He's also been sending video updates.

"It's been ground zero of really destruction. There's a lot of buildings still, up but there's thousands that have collapsed," he said.

His goal is to distribute 180,000 gallons of fresh water by the end of the week.

Helping in relief efforts isn't something Global Ventures was prepared to do, but the group is finding a way to make it happen.

"We are catching our balance in the middle of it and trying to get word out because we weren't equipped to fund this," Smithwick said.

Another need right now is also medical care.

4/29/2015 Related Story: Tulsa Doctors Head To Nepal For Disaster Relief Trip

In addition to the Global Ventures team, a team of Tulsa-area doctors is heading to Nepal Thursday to help with relief efforts.