UPDATED – Nepal Earthquake: Individual action is not a hopeless cause

Hi all,

I started writing Sunday Roast but felt my energy should be directed towards informing people about ways to help with the Nepalese earthquake.

Nepal earthquake epicentre
Map showing earthquake epicentre near to Kathmandu, Nepal
Source: bbc.co.uk

Many of you may have visited Nepal, stayed with host families or ventured out on treks from Everest base camps. I was meant to be in Nepal yesterday, staying with my childhood best friend and her partner near Kathmandu (they are safe, by the way). Of course, my trip to India and Nepal was cut short so I can only imagine what survivors, friends and family, aid workers and officials must be going through.

That is all many of us can do: imagine. The news is a funny thing. We tend to focus our energy on news stories we can relate to, or have experienced/could experience ourselves; events that have happened in similar geographical regions (‘close to home’), to communities or individuals with similar cultures and economies to our own. Being able to relate, to understand leads to compassion and action – whether in the form of educating others about the event, or devoting your own resources (money, time, other assets) to the cause.

Also, when an event becomes so large in magnitude – in death toll, environmental and economic impact etc. – we are at risk of feeling hopeless, resistant to helping those who are suffering, apathetic. This ‘compassion fatigue’ is common in the media, especially when stories are combined with frequent, overwhelming images of tragedy, desperation and crisis.

I want us to go past this.

We cannot, and should not hope to, empathise with what is being experienced in Nepal. But we can still act and provide further capacity and rehabilitation. People have coping mechanisms (e.g. my friend is camping in a tennis court to avoid aftershocks) and rescue efforts are already underway from both formal aid agencies and local groups. These provide a foundation from which we, on the other side of the world, can build upon.

Individual action is not a hopeless cause.

To get you started:

How to help victims of the Nepal earthquake – A list of websites of NGOs and aid organisations that are working in Nepal. Many have set up online donation platforms for aid ranging from tents and food to care for bereaved families.

How to support the volunteer response in Nepal social media, mapping, translators…

Charity Navigator – Giving you information on different charities, what they are providing and their overall ‘rating’ in a particular country. This link gives you a list of charities with high ratings in Nepal.

Humanity RoadProvides information on most affected resources, locations and even info on blood donations as part of aid.

Specific donation platforms include: 

Social media:

Using data systems 
  • Real time crisis mapping from Standby Task Force
  • HBX Beta DataData on earthquake impact (mortality, no. of those affected) but also on water, infrastructure, health services, airports.
Information on earthquake and aftershocks: 
If you know of other ways to help, or have information from those in Nepal, please comment below. Many shipments from international aid donations won’t arrive until mid-week, so local charities and relief efforts are also crucial – I can’t find much online about these, so please comment if you know of any.
Becca x
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