As most of us know, the densely populated Himalayan country of Nepal was struck by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on April 25, killing at least 8,000 people and leaving more than one million survivors homeless. Now, just this morning, only seventeen days later, Nepal has suffered another major earthquake, this one magnitude 7.3. I don't know what the odds are of two seventh-magnitude earthquakes striking the same location less than three weeks apart, but I don't think I've ever heard of this happening before. There is considerable evidence (widely touted by creationists, and largely ignored by evolutionists) that the Himalayan mountains themselves are the result of a tremendous collision between two large tectonic plates during the Great Flood of Genesis. Now the Indian plate is slowly pushing northward over time into the larger main Asian plate, and occasional bumps and rough spots in this process can trigger earthquakes in the region. I also know that India and Pakistan, the two powerful rival nations of South Asia, both have nuclear weapons and occasionally perform underground nuclear tests, especially when they are preparing for war, which can also trigger earthquakes in the Himalayas. I'm not sure what the causes of these two particular earthquakes were, but since I'm not aware of any nuclear testing activities or heightened hostility between India and Pakistan at the moment, I will for now assume natural causes were responsible for these two events.
Although I felt several tremors when I was growing up in California and experienced the magnitude 5.9 quake that shook Virginia on August 23, 2011 at my home more than 100 miles from the epicenter, I have been blessed so far to have never directly experienced a truly destructive earthquake. I can only imagine the gut-wrenching situation in which the people of Nepal now find themselves and what they must be going through at this moment, having lost homes and loved ones just weeks ago, and now with their lives and nerves having been shattered yet again while recovery and rebuilding efforts from the first quake had only just begun. Let's keep the victims of this rare double earthquake in our prayers and compassion and do what we can to help them. Thankfully, Catholic Relief Services has responded to the initial disaster with its accustomed timely, well-organized and professional approach to humanitarian relief, and the agency is now redoubling its efforts to address the latest crisis. I cannot recommend their work highly enough, and I encourage all readers who are able to do so to donate to CRS earthquake relief.