After a disaster, we feel helpless. Whether it’s a world away or just around the corner, we want to do something, but we don’t know what. Should we go? We’d probably just get in the way. Give money? That’s so impersonal, and how do we know the money would even get to the people who need it? Send water, food, clothes? But when the disaster is in Nepal, the shipping costs and logistics make that seem like an impossible idea.
Two of the Center’s former students are living in Nepal, and we are happy to report that they are safe and sound. We received an email from one of them and we wanted to share some of it here, in her own words. She offers some thoughts for ways in which we can help from a distance — and that maybe, the best thing to do is to wait.
Here, in her words, is a view from Nepal:
It is still early in response to the devastating event, and recovery efforts are still being coordinated. Over the next few days and weeks, the extent of the damage will be better understood, and support will be better guided to help those effected. I know we all have the urge to do something, but all I can say is right now, it’s too early to suggest how you can help.
One thing that can be done right now that is extremely helpful is assist in updating maps of Kathmandu and Nepal. We are working with Kathmandu Living Labs to use crowd-sourcing to updates maps, which are urgently needed to provide information for alternative routes, landing places for helicopters, locations of health clinics, etc. Please visit Kathmandu Living Labs for a list of their priority tasks over the next few days.
I understand the feelings of helplessness and urgency in a time like this, but for now, I think the best way to help is wait to see what help is really needed.
In a second email, she added a list of organizations provided by USAID that are working in Nepal and are responding to the efforts there, as well as a direct link to the organization doing the mapping project. If you feel you want to get involved, these would be good places to start.