Post the devastating earthquake of April 25, many survivors have come out individually and in groups to offer their help. There’s indeed a lot to be done—thousands of people are in need of immediate relief.
At this moment of national havoc, the most important issue at hand is to offer help with proper coordination. Recognizing this need, more than 30 organizations of Nepal met on Thursday to form “Earthquake Action Nepal” where they coordinate to properly and efficiently provide relief packages to earthquake survivors. Republica caught up with a few organizations in the group to talk about their plans and their roles.
Anuj Thapa, Managing Director, Key Skills
Lack of coordination among organizations in this grave hour can create the biggest chaos. Therefore, we need to properly coordinate in order to direct our energy in providing relief to the victims rather than wasting it in meaningless disputes. Three days ago we were working on our own, but from today, we’re working together along with many other organizations, and I’ve come to realize that there’s a greater difference we can bring together.
All organizations have their own specialization but right now many of the organizations we’re coordinating with are trying to minimize the chances of epidemic. After the earthquake, due to many issues, it becomes difficult to maintain hygiene. That may lead to the outbreak of epidemic. Today at Madan Bhandari Memorial College, we discussed the various ways in which we can help people maintain their personal hygiene. We discussed on preparing Water Chlorination to kill water bacteria. I believe youths have a greater role to play right now. They should engage themselves however possible to help create a better condition.
Amuda Mishra, Executive Director, Ujyalo Foundation
The main problem we need to deal with right now, I believe is the possible outbreak of epidemic. Since people are living in tents without proper access to sanitation or drinking water facility, diseases like diarrhea and cholera might spread. So we need to prioritize to work on that area.
As for Ujyalo Foundation, we’ve been collaborating with friends, NGOs and local partners to dispatch relief packages to earthquake victims. We recently sent five medical teams to Harisiddhi in Lalitpur for primary medical checkup, two doctors in Dallu, and two medical teams to Sindhupalchowk and Kavre. So we’re doing whatever we can and now that we are part of a bigger group, we hope to do much more. However, even though the government is doing its part, it would be a lot easier for us if the protocols they want us to follow were specified clearly and coherently. Many times, when we try to get something done, say collect a relief package from the airport, we’re told to come in some other day. So that is confusing us. My message for the youth who want to help would be to collaborate with the group you would want to work with and set off. There is power in number, so you’ll be able to make a greater difference with a group.
Pallav Panta, Managing Director, Disability Media Foundation
At the time of crisis, disabled people face a lot of hurdles. More often than not, they are the ones who are left ignored. So we’re trying to aware people on that. However right now we aren’t particularly focusing on disabled people but rather helping whoever is in need. Recently we dispatched few medicines in Dhading and a team of doctors are all set to go to Dolakha District tomorrow along with tents. Nonetheless, the sad part now is that we don’t have enough materials. Tents are slowly reducing in number and there are certain products that aren’t available in Nepal. The government isn’t being helpful either. There’s a protocol that any donor money coming in the name of disaster relief will be sent directly to the PM Disaster Relief fund. That will make the work slower. Nonetheless, we’re coordinating with many other organizations and helping out however we can. We hope to make better progress that way.
Kanchan Prasad Kharel, President, YUWA
Around 30 youth organizations had participated in the meeting this morning at Ratopul. Among the things we discussed and decided on, the major ones are to focus our efforts initially on Kathmandu and Sindhupalchowk, and to concentrate on providing materials for sanitation, solar lights and solar water filters. Since yesterday, we’ve been working with a large number of volunteers, between 150 and 200. Our volunteers are busy packing, loading and distributing relief materials. Some have been dispatched to distribute tents in Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha, while others are focusing on spreading awareness about sanitation in Naya Bazaar. We need all the help we can get so volunteers can come to Madan Bhandari Memorial College at 11 AM any day.
We’ve heard that the government has ceased to receive international funds so we’re now trying to raise funds by ourselves. We’re also tying up with vendors. We’re in talks with a couple of them to see whether they can provide us with materials. It’s likely that one vendor in Janakpur can sell us tents for Rs 4 per square feet. If that works out, we’ll raise money amongst ourselves and give orders. Our next move is to start a door to door campaign where we’ll raise goods in kind for those in need.
Arun Khadka, Vice-Chairman, Youth Action Nepal
Our major focus is rallying youth volunteers. We’re still lacking in volunteers and so we’ve started an open call for those who are interested to help out. We’ve also joined forces with different youth groups and private agencies like meroJob.com which are associated with the youth. Our job is to connect organizations with volunteers. Once we gather enough volunteers, we will train them and they can then work with other organizations that are providing relief materials and working on sanitation issues. Young people from Itahari and Dhangadi are also enquiring about the possibility of assisting in this time of utmost need. Our target is to mobilize thousands of volunteers. Once they’ve been trained and have some field knowledge working in and around Kathmandu, we hope to send them out of the Valley to other districts. The volunteers will then not simply distribute materials and return home but stay and help in every way possible.
Bharat Paudel, Managing Director, Clean Energy Nepal Private Limited
With yesterday’s news that international funds will no longer be accepted unless it’s meant for the PM Disaster Relief Fund, we’re at a loss about how to raise funds. In all likelihood, we will work with international organizations like Nepal Red Cross Society. We’ve been in meetings for most of the day and now we’re heading to Gongabu to help out in the cleaning process. The last couple of days, we’ve tried to be helpful by distributing relief packages organized by Baba Ramdev’s health camp and Jain Samaj. We also helped to move the rubble in Dharahara and Basantapur as well as distributing solar lights and tarpaulins.