As more and more information emerges since the Nepal earthquake, it is becoming increasingly clear that help is still desperately needed. There are reports of huge numbers of remote villages who have yet to receive any government aid at all. There are still thousands of injured people who need medical attention. Many of the isolated villages are running out of food and water, and disease will be a problem if water cannot be treated.
Nepal needs both long and short-term aid, and the overwhelming number of aid organisations, along with conflicting advice in the press, can make it a little more complicated than you might have thought when it comes to deciding how to donate money and equipment.
As a result we've compiled a list of charities, non-profit organisations and indivduals on the ground in Nepal who we know and trust, and who have been recommended by our friends in Nepal.
I have read many articles suggesting that we should only be donating to the larger organisations who have tried-and-tested relief plans, experienced humanitarian staff, access to more resources and the ability to triage where the help is needed most. This is all good advice, BUT some of the people who are making the biggest difference are the people who are in Nepal right now. There are some wonderful individuals launching independent rescue missions to the places they know have yet to receive any aid, and I've included them because they are getting on with it and making things happen.
Nepal only has one international airport, and much of the international aid is sitting in Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport waiting to be signed off. And, wait for it, taxed. Yes, that's right, the Nepali government has announced that foreign aid to Nepal will be taxed. It has also annouched that the government wants to control all bank deposits meant for the disaster relief fund, and has instructed banks that all amounts deposited for the purpose of relief for the earthquake will be automatically transferred to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. The government has stated that this does not apply to NGOs already in existence before the earthquake.
Jeevan Bhurtel, from the Nepali group Public Health Concern Trust, spent 3 days at the airport trying to sort out documentation needed to release a consignment of tarpaulins and basic survival equipment sent from China. Each ministry had to approve the consignment in writing. Such lengthy, and, dare we say, corrupt bureaucratic processes are preventing the aid from reaching the people who need it the most, and highlight the importance of supporting every plausible avenue. If aid is going to be sitting at the airport, then I'm certainly going to be supporting those individuals who have already bought tarps, blankets and medicines, and who are in the process of distributing them in the outlying villages, and I don't care if this is not the official recommended advice.
I have come to the conclusion that there isn't a right or a wrong way to donate. Even if 10% of your donations were siphoned off by corrupt officials, you can rest assured that Nepal is a country populated by some of the most kind-hearted, generous and honest people you could ever meet. The police and the military have been outstanding in their rescue efforts. The vast majority of Nepalis are doing whatever they can to help each other. Whatever you give, most of it will reach people who are in desperate need. Whether you give some money to each organisation listed, or whether you choose to concentrate on 1 or 2, I urge you please to dig deep and donate any amount you can, large or small, to help rebuild a country that is so dear to so many of our hearts.
Local individuals and orgs making a difference
The Last Resort - located near to Sindupalchowk, one of the areas that has been worst hit, and which has had next to no aid from official sources. The Last Resort said "Today our staff is already there with medication and 3 Canadian medics. Tomorrow a shipment of food, shelter, jerry cans and medicine will leave for the area. From Saturday we will have a team of 3 Nepali doctors stationed at The Last Resort (or what is left of it)." To donate:
1. via Western Union (charge is waived until 15th May) to staff member Ram Chandra Bogati. Then email us sender name, receiver name, 10 digit code, sending country and expected amount to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2.If in Australia via partner association www.givenow.com.au/sunrisechildrensassociation
Summit Nepal Trekking - a company who I've worked with for many years, whose staff are on the ground helping. They need funds to hire a truck and to buy rice - they are visiting some of the harder-hit villages. A fantastic and trustworthy group of people - please email us for details of where to send bank transfers.
Himalayan Singletrack - sending teams of cyclists out round the Kathmandu valley distributing supplies, food, medicine etc. Good guys doing good work. They also managed to procure a truck and fuel to drivers and ship it out to the heart of the disaster. Donate here.
Nepal Rises - What started as 6 people has now turned into 200+ volunteers. "We have divided the responsiblities trhough a chain of command and have 6 teams with specific roles. Money is accounted for and given to buyers to purchase necessary supplies. Through our resource centre Nepal Rises we understand the need from all over Nepal and then deliver it." Donate at www.nepalrises.com
Nepal in Need - run by a wonderful lady, this charity are shipping sleeping bags, tents, medical supplies and medical teams to Gorkha, an area that has been really badly hit and that has had hardly any aid at all. I personally know 1 of the team they are sending out - they will make it to Gorkha somehow with all the kit, even if it has to be walked there. Well worth checking out their website for more information about what they are doing, it's very informative and there is also a section on how to contribute sleeping bags and tents in various locations in the UK. www.nepalinneed.org
For immediate medical & emergency support
British Red Cross - Supporting communities, providing first aid and running blood banks. Click here to donate.
Plan - Distribution of initial relief supplies, including blankets, mosquito nets and education kits has begun in the Makwanpur and Sindhuli districts. We are also currently distributing emergency shelter materials (tarpaulins and ropes) in Makawanpur District and Sinduli District ouside Kathmandu. In the coming days, we will distribute tarpaulins and blankets to over 2000 families in Makawanpur, Sindhuli and Kathmandu. Our response is focused on children and their families, espeically those in the most remote and hard-to-reach areas. Click here to donate.
Seva Foundation - A long-standing eyecare foundation in Nepal who will give 100% of donations directly to clinics and hospitals. Donate here.
World Food Programme - delivering food and emergency supplies along with a relief hub at Tribhuvan International Airport. Donate here.
Phase Worldwide - doing excellent work in Nepal, this agency has been recommended by some of our friends & doctors in Nepal. Donate here.
America Nepal Medical Foundation - 100% of the donation goes to hospitals and victims. Everyone at ANMF is an unpaid volunteer so no overhead staff costs and almost all are doctors, nurses and medical professionals. Again, recommended by friends in Nepal. Donate here.
Immediate and ongoing aid
Community Action Nepal - A wonderful charity set up by Doug Scott, and focusing on the mountain people of Nepal. CAN's approach to the earthquake is a long-term plan of rebuilding schools, health posts, porter shelters and community buildings. A very worthwhile cause. Read more and donate here.
The Juniper Trust - Founded in 1994, patron Sir Chris Bonington. I have supported The Juniper Trust for years through working for KE Adventure. Their earthquake appeal has reached over £40,000 and any more will be greatly appreciated. Donate here.
I know that the above recommendations only scratch the surface of people to whom you can donate. The list is by no means complete, but I will update it with other organisations as I hear about them. It will also be important in the longer term to support rebuilding projects, so I will post about this when more details emerge.