Nepal Disaster and Recovery Efforts: Long Road Ahead

Man cries as he walks on the street while passing through a damaged statue of Lord Buddha a day after an earthquake in Bhaktapur
Reuters/ Navesh Chitrakar

Just over a week ago, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, followed by heavy rains. Over 8 million people have been impacted by this natural disaster, including over 7,000 killed, over 14,000 injured, and millions displaced.

As we have learned from disasters in Haiti, China, and even New Orleans, catastrophic events on this scale often require years to rebuild and regain some sense of normalcy.

During the extensive rebuilding process, there are short and long term needs in order to ensure the health and safety of the citizens of Nepal. Access to safe drinking water, sanitary waste facilities, and resources for hand washing are critical to prevent the spread of disease. Those who have lost homes in the earthquake will need temporary shelter including tarpaulins, blankets, and mattresses.

The global outpouring of support for earthquake victims has been generous and welcome. However, donors should treat their contributions as they would other investments, and carefully consider the organization receiving their gift. With every natural disaster there are cases of pop-up, sham “charities” that solicit donations only to misuse those funds. We encourage donors to use a combination of reliable sources to evaluate charities before making a contribution.

It is also important to assess how your donation will be spent. Does the charity focus on short-term relief efforts or long-term rebuilding? Does the NGO already have a presence in Nepal or is this a new project for them? Will the NGO work closely with coordination efforts in Nepal so the right aid reaches the right people? These are all important questions to consider before making a donation.

Donors should also decide when to give. Should I give now or wait until further information becomes available? In our experience, some of the most effective groups are the small, local organizations working on the ground to provide much needed care to the affected communities now. They do not have the time to update their website, post social media updates, write reports, raise funds or take donor calls.

As the relief efforts continue over the coming weeks, months, and years, the best NGOs will be transparent about their involvement and use of resources, reporting to donors and the public about their work.

A list of NGOs currently working in Nepal is below. USAID’s Center for International Disaster Information also has a list of organizations and a report from May 4th provides an update on the situation and needs in Nepal. Please feel free to add to the list by commenting on this post.

CARE
“A humanitarian organization fighting global poverty with a long-established presence in Nepal.”

Direct Relief
“Direct Relief is a nonprofit that specializes in providing international medical assistance. It is in the process of coordinating with local partners in Nepal and will focus its relief efforts on the “valley around Kathmandu, where medical facilities are overflowing with patients seeking care.”

Doctors without Borders
“MSF currently has approximately 38 staff on the ground in Nepal, based in Kathmandu and Ghorka….Based on initial aerial assessments, the damage seems to be quite significant in a number of villages in the mountainous region. Due to the destruction, there is an immediate need for relief items such as shelter and hygiene materials and cooking equipment.”

Ghar Sita Mutu
“House with Heart has an urgent need of funds to cover the costs of emergency food and other necessities like sleeping bags and portable solar lamps for themselves and their neighbors. As is always the case after crises like this, food and other necessities are difficult to come by and prices will skyrocket.”

Immediate Relief for Nepal Earthquake Survivors 
Organized by New York based Nepali organization Adhikaar
“Adhikaar is coordinating with our friends to help send additional food and tents… We’re raising funds online and offline, and coordinating with volunteers in India and Nepal.”

Karuna-Shechen
“All donations received over the next 30 days will be directed towards our relief efforts to help earthquake victims in Nepal. Established in Kathmandu through the Shechen clinic, its mobile medical clinics and camps, Karuna-Shechen has a team of professionals on the ground that is trained and ready to help the victims of this disaster. Our team is already working to assess the situation and long-term needs to help the local population in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund
Organised by America Nepal Medical Foundation
“ANMF will send a team with basic necessities ASAP, specifically tents, blankets, mattress, water, food, chlorine tablets, and oral rehydration packets. ANMF will help setup, field camp for medical help along with Phase, an NGO already working in Sindhupalchowk. We will be funding supply of food for volunteers who are helping in these hospitals.”

READ Global
“Many of READ’s 59 Centers in Nepal serve as the primary source of information in their communities and provide critical resources such as microcredit, health services, and Internet access. We anticipate that READ Centers will continue to play a critical role in meeting village’s most urgent needs and as people begin the process of rebuilding. We need to support their efforts.”

Relief for Nepal Earthquake Victims
Organized by Rashmi Thapa and Photo.Circle
“Photo Circle has organised a group of independent volunteers and are procuring basic essentials in Kathmandu – plastic tarps are on top of our list – and distributing to various locations on the periphery of Kathmandu valley.”

Sahayeta
“A registered 501c3 organization created by individuals who share similar stories of hardship and struggle in America, having arrived as international students, refugees and new immigrants from the Himalayan region. A majority of our resources will go to aiding local grassroots organizations that would not traditionally receive money from large donors. These could include schools, women’s groups, youth groups, farmers and others who are working on the ground and delivering the most impact. Our partners include: Public Health Concern Trust Nepal (PHECT), Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children (HRDC), American Nepal Medical Foundation, Teach for Nepal, Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) USA, 360Plus, and INDUZ.”

Samaritan’s Purse
US-based international relief agency that has dispatched a team to Nepal, Samaritan’s Purse is relying on its long-established relationships with local partners and churches in Nepal to quickly assess needs and establish supply routes for relief items.”

Seva Foundation
“The Seva Foundation is a US-based nonprofit known for its work treating blindness. It has a long-running presence in Nepal and has set up an emergency relief fund.”

ShelterBox
“Provides emergency shelter to families made homeless by disasters, relying on local Rotary International clubs to support its teams of staff and volunteers”

Tourism Cares
“Working with local partners and tourism interests, we will bring the assets of the tourism industry to bear on recovery. Financial investments to support the local tourism industry, as well as community-based tourism projects and social enterprises, so that Nepal tourism can recover and even become stronger where possible. Global tourism advocacy and communications for Nepal, working with media and association partners to systematically tell the emerging Nepal story of recovery to travel agents, tour operators, the general public, and others vital for driving tourism to Nepal.”

WaterAid
“A developmental agency has long-running projects in seven of the 11 worst-hit districts and a specialisation in providing clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene – three of the most pressing priorities in the aftermath of an earthquake.”