Scientology Nepal Disaster Response Team Members Share Story of Heartbreak and Humanity on the Ground
Scientologist Mike Savas and business partner Max Rantz-McDonald joined more than 100 Scientology Volunteer Ministers on the ground in Nepal, who have been providing urgently needed relief every day since the April 25 earthquake.
When Mike Savas and Max Rantz-McDonald learned there had been a deadly and destructive 7.8 earthquake in Nepal on April 25 they were vacationing in Bali between gigs. (They do management and promotion for a number of touring musicians.) But they immediately knew what they had to do: The vacation was over.
“There was really no choice,” recalled Savas, a Scientologist who has been a Volunteer Minister since 2001 when he worked on the relief effort following 9/11. “We were so close (to the disaster zone) that we both made ourselves available.”
They joined more than 100 Scientology Volunteer Ministers from Nepal, India and Pakistan, and as far away as Fiji, Colombia, the U.S. and Brazil, who made helping the people of this country their top priority.
Flying in to Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu on April 29, Savas and Rantz-McDonald hooked up with the elite Mexican search-and-rescue team Los Topos, Firefighters Without Borders from Spain, the Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association (CASDDA) canine rescue unit and other VMs from the U.S. and Nepal, and headed out on May 1 to remote mountain villages, a four-hour bus ride from Kathmandu, where the UN hoped they would still find survivors.
Along that route, they passed dozens of small villages on the main road where people were living in camps of 25-50 and lying out in the open on tarps. They were otherwise without food, money or shelter.
In a village they reached on May 2, only 10 homes out of 200 were still standing, all without power, their food stores destroyed. To charge their cell phones, villagers had to traverse six treacherous kilometers down a steep cliff.
“We passed out over 100 meal packs to the village and left a small generator in the community center,” Savas wrote and added that they are planning to distribute 200 tents, 50 generators, and 5,000 meal packs over the next five days.
“We passed out over 100 meal packs to the village and left a
small generator in the community center”
While at the same remote village, Savas and Rantz-McDonald had one triumphant experience involving a five-year-old boy who had been pulled from the rubble 24 hours after the original temblor. With the help of the International Scientology Volunteer Ministers Coordinator in Los Angeles, they managed to contact UN headquarters in Nepal and arranged for the boy to receive medical care for a serious foot injury at a military hospital in Kathmandu.
“It looks like his foot will be saved,” Savas writes.
Whether serving in their communities or on the other side of the world, the motto of the Scientology Volunteer Minister is “Something can be done about it.” The program, created in the mid 1970s by L. Ron Hubbard and sponsored by the Church of Scientology International as a religious social service, constitutes one of the world’s largest and most visible international independent relief forces.
The Volunteer Minister “helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others.”
A global network of Volunteer Ministers mobilizes in times of manmade and natural disasters, answering the call wherever needed. Collaborating with some 1,000 organizations and agencies, they have utilized their skill and experience in providing physical support and spiritual aid at hundreds of disaster sites.
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