The earthquake in Nepal has left 4000 dead and thousands injured, and the toll is only expected to rise in the aftermath. We all are united in solidarity and our hearts go out to the country. However as much as you want to help and do your bit, knowing what matters and what doesn’t at this point is important. We have compiled various resources into a list of functional and actionable ways you can help, and also the ways you should not be looking at.
1) Donate money: Donate whatever you can because what Nepal needs the most right now is monetary help that will go towards aiding ongoing rescue work, procuring food and medicine for the survivors and the rescue teams. Do a research and contribute to a legit charity that will help direct your funds in the right way. Remember a few thousand rupees may not be much for you, but if a large number of people in the country contributed their bit, the fund could go a long way. It’s quick, it’s online. The PMO relief fund seems to be the easiest and most legit way to donate so far. Here is a list of some of the other approved international charities. Facebook has created an easy app to donate money to the International Medical Corps and your donations will be matched equally by Facebook.
2) Conduct donation drives in your organization/society: While it may be beyond your means to contribute more than a certain amount, use this time to galvanize your networks, leverage my resources and connections to raise funds to help in the relief efforts. Money collected can be donated to a charity listed in the step above. While donating clothes and 2nd hand items may be a bigger logistical challenge, here is a list of some other more useful stuff.
3) Do not visit unless you have skills: Driven as you may be to feel more involved and visit Nepal yourself to aid volunteering work or to comfort distressed relatives, you will be doing more harm than good by adding to the problems of an already over-burdened country. The airport is better used for the rescue operations by the Air Force, and your own survival requirements would add to the food and water scarcity in the region. Unless you can offer skills they can help- Doctors, masons, nurses, etc- hold back and do not visit. Here is a great article from the Guardian that elaborates this in detail.
4) Encourage skilled friends: Ask around and encourage your skilled friends to visit after due research. The hospitals in Nepal are overburdened and thousands of people are left stranded and wounded without help. The country needs disaster and medical specialists more than kind hearted, but unskilled volunteers.
5) Do not spread rumours, paranoia: As much as a proactive action is required, it’s important to not use this time of distress as an opportunity to further your personal propaganda against or for a government, belief or person. Avoid spreading rumours about more incoming damage, or assigning the disaster to unrelated events like this.
6) Spread the word around: While there’s only a little you can do to help, everyone has networks and social media presence these days, which can help spread awareness about the event and crucial helpline numbers etc. Here’s a list of some emergency numbers. Help people who’re missing friends and family to use the Google People Finder.
7) Be positive: Spread some cheer around. Nepal is wounded and needs to be to reminded to be brave, to look forward to rebuilding the country. Help them look at the positive side. Here’s a blog that attemps at some words of calm through a Mathematician’s analysis of the earthquakes.
8) Contribute to the economy, later: “Nepal’s economy has been set back to a decade”. It might take years, even a decade for Nepal to bounce back to normalcy, rebuild the country and resurrect its heavily damaged economy. For a country that relies on tourism for 10% of its GDP, it is important that tourism is not affected adversely and once some semblance of normalcy has returned to the country, so does the inflow of tourists.