Earthquake in Nepal
Once again, we find ourselves coming together as a community to determine how we can respond to a terrible disaster. The following is taken from the website of Interaction.org, an alliance of reputable NGO's committed to working with the world's most vulnerable people.
Early on April 25 a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck near Nepal's densely populated capital, Kathmandu. The quake and subsequent aftershocks have caused widespread devastation and loss of life, affecting communities in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. The disaster is the worst to hit Nepal since 1934.
Interaction partners with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, The Red Cross, Islamic Relief USA, Catholic Relief Services, Lutheran World Relief, ShelterBox, and many other trusted aid agencies to get help to those who need it most. This link will take you to Interaction.org's donation page, which lists agencies to whom you may direct your financial help.
Please also see the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Fact Sheet on post-earthquake assistance for Nepal.
Adrian Smith, Middlebury College class of 1997, has been working in Nepal for 15 years and is currently coordinating the purchase and distribution of tents, tarps, water filters and other basic needs. You can read more about Adrian’s work here. You may donate to his work via Paypal by specifying his email account: email@example.com
Please note that contributions made to Adrian as an individual are not tax-deductible.
Adrian and his colleague Sweta Gurung presented a slide lecture on their work in Nepal at the Robert A. Jones House on Oct. 8, 2015. The talk was sponsored by the Departments of Religion and Political Science, and the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life.
You may also support Adrian and Sweta's work, and the people in Sindhupalchowk camp, by purchasing one of their beautiful handmade wool carpets via the Himalayan Crossroads Facebook page.
The following is a message from Adrian on June 16:
After the earthquake on April 25th, I began to raise funds for basic relief for the 50 households of the small rural farming community of Chaukati, with which I have had an enduring connection. Since then, the scope of our work has grown considerably, thanks to generous donations from all of you. We have raised $35,175 to date. I’d like to take a moment to let you know how your contributions have been spent.
For the first month, we focused on direct relief, sending in doctors, medical supplies, food, tarps and foam mattresses, first to Chaukati, then to neighboring villages comprising 670 households altogether. To our great surprise, we were able to coordinate with the Nepali army to distribute supplies to communities they had identified as having the greatest need. The army was sent to assess damage and to keep peace, as some Nepalis had begun to raid relief vehicles out of frustration that no aid had come to them.
Astonishingly, the government sent the Army with supplies only for themselves and none to distribute. So these young men were happy to be able to provide us security along the road and to help with transport and distribution. Altogether we distributed roughly 58,000 lbs of rice, tarps, and medical supplies, providing care for over 6,000 people. Every household in Chaukati now has shelter and enough food to last them until their next harvest, and we were able to insure the same for many other surrounding villages.
By late May, most communities had received some relief in the way of food, shelter and medical care. In other areas of the district, however, people had been forced to leave, as landslides had buried their homes and their fields. The steep terrain remains at risk of landslide activity, particularly through the monsoon, which has just arrived. Thousands of displaced people have arrived in Kathmandu and formed camps roughly according to the district they have come from.
We are active in managing what have now become two camps from Sindupalchowk. The first quickly reached a capacity of 1200 people in 90 tents and the second is filling with about 600 people as of today. We are managing their medical needs, access to water, hygiene, sanitation, education, and giving special attention to women’s issues and reproductive health. The first baby born in the camp arrived this week.
There is a lot to be done and conditions in the camps are likely to become more challenging as the monsoon sets in on inadequate toilet facilities and overcrowded tents. As these people have left their land, they have not been able to plant their crops and when they do return to their villages they will have no homes or food to return to.
Our work ahead primarily involves continued medical care for the two camps, sustaining sanitation (creating separate bathing stations for women, more toilets and water filtration systems), and partnering with nearby schools to educate, entertain and rehabilitate the children through the end of the monsoon (through September). We are establishing temporary structures for school to continue through the monsoon and also intend to rebuild the school in Chaukati. I am returning to Nepal in 2 weeks to continue working with our team.
I am overwhelmed by the efforts of our volunteers, who have been working tirelessly for nearly two months, all the while carrying their own trauma and heartbreak from the earthquake. I also am overwhelmed by the generosity of you who have enabled us to have an impact far beyond what I ever imagined. What we have come to take on has outgrown the funds we have raised so far. The Nepalis in the camps will need support for several more months at least. If you know of friends who would like to donate directly to on the ground relief in Nepal please direct them our way, and if you are moved to donate again, please do so! Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of all of our partners and volunteers who have tried to help at a critical time of need, thank you for your generosity and your concern for the people of Nepal.
With deep appreciation,
Adrian, Sweta Gurung, and our team at Himalayan Crossroads
Thank you for following our work and for supporting us! We are still accepting donations through Paypal to email@example.com.
We are grateful to Professor Bill Waldron of the College's Department of Religion for bringing Adrian's work to our attention. Professor Waldron has known Adrian since Adrian's time as a student at Middlebury. Click here to see a short powerpoint presentation from Prof. Waldron on Nepal’s history and geography.