Where to help and how to help!

(Archived from 2015).“Banknotes lose their validity when it is about mere survival. Bank transfers become a joke where banks and ATM machines are collapsed or closed…”


The most effective (and nearly the ONLY effective) help in Nepal currently would be if you or your friends come and help in Nepal in person as a volunteer to distribute relief aid PERSONALLY, DIRECTLY AND HAND-TO-HAND to the victims. For a quick and just relief individuals and private Nepali enterprises are doing a huge work. Paying all the expenses of the transport by themselves, they bypass any bureaucracy, by which offices and big NGOs would only make relief slower or stuck, in their experience. Don’t believe in popularity-enhancing photos made by this or that big organization showing them delivering relief material to locals: most of the time this is just for the show, and given to a few villagers in comfortably accessible places, where organizations settle and expect that villagers would come to them from places sometimes many days walk…The news from locals volunteering personally in Gorkha,Lamjung, Solukhumbu, Bhaktapur etc. is less glittery than those media photos.The situation is actually grimmy and heart-breaking, and thousands of human beings are still without any aid, any tent, blanket, food or clean water, dying slowly of their injuries. People are still dying from injuries, as no medical teams reached them, or it was too late. 

In daily touch with the suffering people by phone, most Nepalis themselves are now extremely helpful towards their co-citizens, as they are getting alarming complains from most hit remote villages about NONE of the government or NGO agencies reaching them with aid, and they are taking the initiative to personally go out and deliver food and warm clothes and shelters to the needy. They are using their own or their friends’  jeeps, motorbikes, buses, minibuses or trucks, covering the cost for the petrol.

But most of them cannot arrange HELICOPTERS, which are sometimes the only means to bring help to damaged places in high hills. Commercial helicopter agencies (the ones used before by Ram Bahadur Bomjon for crossing even 10km distances!) are still charging the same money as if t would be just another sightseeing tour… To arrange a Nepali or Indian Army helicopter for delivering donated food and material is, on the other hand, even in this extreme situation very complicated, needing lots of papers and stamps in a country which is in ruins… After obtaining the papers, the helicopters can leave only after many days: every day in hunger, cold and fear is an additional dose of suffering for those who wait in despair for any signs of humanity to arrive…

That’s why if you wish that your money or gifts are really getting to the needy, and do not scatter “along the way” , the best would be if you are able to deliver them personally, or if that cannot be arranged, try to be part of such collections arranged by trustful friends and established Nepali enterprises, best with some foreign presence. After some brief browsing on the Internet it is easy to distinguish such spontaneous local teams which do the most exhausting fieldwork to save lives on a daily basis from the very first day of the earthquake, from those offices which misuse the earthquake to offer online “donation buttons”.  

THOSE WHO ARE REALLY HELPING,ARE ABLE TO ORGANIZE COLLECTIONS OF FOOD, TENTS,CLOTHES WITHIN HOURS, AND DO NOT ASK FOR YOUR MONEY. FIRST THEY THINK ABOUT DELIVERING URGENT HELP TO THE SUFFERING, AND THEN THEY WOULD THINK IF THEY HAVE LEFT WITH ENOUGH TO SUSTAIN THEIR OWN BUSINESS AND FAMILIES. THESE ARE THE REAL HEROES OF NEPAL, NOT THE ONLINE DONATION BUTTONS!

In some places but the Nepali Army arrived to help, yet unfortunately the Army can deliver only what was given to it,often just a bag of puffed rice with a bottle of water, my Nepali friends told me…The Army had saved but many lives by helping the injured.

People urgently need food, tents, water. Naturalities. In the most remote villages they have no use of banknotes in this moment. It would come at a later phase, but even money could be effective only when delivered hand-to-hand. Donors have complained about some bad experiences with some CDOs (local political leaders), after trusting them to distribute aid to the villagers. It is a very rainy time in Nepal, and the stranded and traumatized people are hungry, dirty, soaked and cold…

Don’t forget: the mentality of bribes and selfish misusing of funds was not wiped out by the earthquake from many  people in Nepal, who had such habits already during the “peace times”…If you cannot oversee that your donation (money or material) does get to the suffering people

  • directly,
  • in full amount
  • and immediately,

then maybe it is more effective to throw your banknotes to the sea, one Nepali friend told me…

But yes,please DO help: yet with intelligent compassion and not with mechanical and thoughtless clicking of the donation buttons…


 

where to help 10

Cold and rain is the current weather in most Nepal, and people are freezing during nights in pouring rain, without electricity, in the dark, in fears what would happen next, when would the next aftershock come…The feeling of despair that hundreds or thousands have now, in remote villages and settlements on hills and in valleys, is unimaginable…Without electricity they could not charge their mobiles, and phone their sons and daughters who often work in cities or abroad… The roads are damaged by cracks, landslides, mud or totally swept away… Helicopters often cannot find places to land, even if they see the despair under them… Distribution of help is often left on the locals themselves, with no guarantee that everyone gets some. Shops are collapsed, or without supply.

In such a such a situation, logically, even the biggest financial donation is not a guarantee of saving quickly those human lives, the wounded and stranded abandoned people, unless one has a guarantee of directly overseeing that from such a donation rescue-helicopters are hired, petrol is bought for them, water bottles and food for the needy, with an immediate transport (no days-long delays)….Banknotes lose their validity when it is about mere survival. Bank transfers become a joke where banks and ATM machines are collapsed or closed…

But what they really need here and now is:

  • shelter (tents, warm blankets, mats, sleeping bags, clothes), raincoats, plastic covers (rain is every day), ropes to make tents
  • water (bottled, purification tablets),
  • food (rice is the staple of Nepalis, not bread and wheat as for us Westerners!, noddle soups – called “chow-chow”, salt, sugar, milk powder for children, oil to cook – they can pick green vegetables in jungles, as is the habit)…Eventually corn flour (makai ko dhero), “Satu” (roasted cereal flour to make a meal without the need of cooking, “Chiura” (beaten rice, no need to cook), biscuits)
  • Also medicines for the wounded: disinfection, bandages, antibiotics treating infected wounds, first aid kits, rehydration powder (“Jivan Jal”), painkillers.
  • Tools to make fire (matches, lighters) and light (candles, battery lamps, torches).
  • cooking utensils (Nepali style big pots, “karai” – like Chinese “wok”, paper or other plates, cups)
  • medical volunteers
  • money donation directly to the hand of most effected individuals

where to help 6

As Nepalis and tourists had emptied entire wholesale stores of tents and blankets, rice and oil in cities which stayed unharmed by the quake, buying them from their own money and sending directly to the worst hit places, there is a need to bring more tents,mats, blankets, rice etc. from India or China, eventually from the rest of Nepal. Ideal would be if all those foreign rescue teams from Europe or other countries could bring such material help with them, as it seems that even 5000 tents are not enough in certain places:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/fears-grow-over-fate-thousands-near-epicentre-nepal-earthquake-gorkha

HOW TO ENSURE IT GOES TO THE NEEDY:

USE THE HELP OF THE MANY ENTHUSIASTIC NEPALI AND FOREIGN INDIVIDUALS AND SMALL TOURIST BUSINESSES, WHO FINANCE AND ARRANGE THE COLLECTION AND TRANSPORT OUT OF COMPASSION FROM THEIR OWN EXPENSES,AND GIVE THE GOODS HAND-TO-HAND IN THE VERY PLACES!

AVOID THE MONSTROUS HIERARCHY AND CUMBERSOME BUREAUCRACY OF BIG ORGANIZATIONS AND NGOs!

“There has been no help from the government or aid agencies even though supplies could easily be brought in by road or by helicopter, he says.” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32522398?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_breaking&ns_source=twitter&ns_linkname=news_central

The danger of too slow route (if any at all) of international donations towards the needy is just too great: “Piles of tents that China sent have been lying at the airport since Monday. There are not enough trucks to take them out of here, ”http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/international-aid-workers-frustrated-about-nepali-governments-delays/2015/04/29/4e8ab5f6-eddd-11e4-8050-839e9234b303_story.html

There is a long history in Nepal of misusing funds, donations by the big number of offices and NGOs and organizations claiming to be charities. This devastating earthquake would have been less tragic if those funds (for example for better infrastructure, quake-safe construction, disaster management training etc.) could have reached their original purpose in the past…

http://www.newsweek.com/nepal-earthquake-deaths-blame-weak-corrupt-politicians-325530

Nepalis themselves all speak about this situation openly, and NGOs have a reputation of fake businesses which hardly ever bend down to the very needy. Not much different is the reputation of religious organizations with “charitable” programs. Nepalis trust more individual volunteers and small individual initiatives. And exactly this is what is happening now, when tourist activity companies, shops, bars, taking advantage of their contacts with foreigners, are making individual collections of the list of most needed items, use their own cars, jeeps, small trucks and buses, transfer the goods by their own expenses to the very earthquake-hit villages, eventually to airports, where mount them on small planes and helicopters (provided for free by the help of the Government or other countries, like India), sit on that helicopter or plane to oversee that the goods get FROM HAND TO HAND,to the needy.

A few times I was explained they also tried to give the urgent material help to VDC offices (local government), concretely “to the CDO” (the leader of such an office), but they did not distribute the urgently needed water, food and material for shelter at all, or just scarcely… Quickly learning from this ineffectiveness, or often dishonesty, having in mind the welfare of the needy, they decided to give every piece of item from hand to hand, DIRECTLY to the people effected. This is the only way to effectively and quickly help in a country with such a bad history of disappearing funds and donated goods stuck in trucks and storehouses…If you care about the lives of human beings, try to ensure that your donation is sent exactly this way:

  1. from individual volunteers and business of honest reputation
  2. by transport arranged by the very volunteers from their own expenses
  3. directly from their hand to the hands of effected victims,in the very damaged village
  4. avoiding all kinds of officials, charities,organizations, government representatives, who would block or slowdown the rescue

If you clear your conscience by donating huge money to huge organizations, there is a chance that it would get misused, lost, or stuck in a bureaucracy apparatus, which, sadly, was often the case also of many NGOs working in Nepal in the past. If this is your wish, all right. Yet for those who wish their help is effective, I am going to write a few advices below.

Before you would read it, I wish to bring to the attention the URGENT NEED FOR HELP in a few areas where the huge NGO apparatus and the billions of dollars aid had not arrived, or was not enough and not effective:

According to my Israeli friends staying now in Nepal, who are helping to bring individual donations from Nepali businesses, individuals and tourists directly to the very hands of the needy, a few areas of earthquake-hit Nepal are still in desperate need of help:

Dhading District’s remote villages

Gorkha District’s remote villages (news about continued desperate need of help in Laprak and Barpak):

“One focus of concern is the valley of Barpack, about 10 miles from the epicentre, which local aid workers said was as “densely populated as Kathmandu”. Helicopter crews have reported that entire villages have been razed there”: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/fears-grow-over-fate-thousands-near-epicentre-nepal-earthquake-gorkha

Lamjung District’s remote villages

Sindhupalchok District’s remote villages, with the largest number of epicenters and aftershocks, and also most of the deaths (one badly hit village is Sindhukot)

Dolakha: About 40,000 quake-hit people in Dolakha district are spending their night under the open sky in the field for four days, in wait for relief materials, mainly tent and medicine: http://www.ekantipur.com/2015/04/29/top-story/quake-hit-people-awaiting-tents-and-medicines-in-dolakha/404638.html

Rasuwa District

Trishuli Bazaar area’s villages (one Indian helicopter already evacuated some injured, some relatives still do not have news about their families there)

Solukumbhu District (yes the area of Mount Everest, please don’t forget that it is not just mountain-climbers who are to be rescued there, as many villages were nearly entirely leveled by the earthquake, my friend, born there, informed me). 

The situation is that after more than 100 aftershocks, people are permanently in fear of returning to their half-collapsed houses,and do their everyday routine (work on the fields, animals, cooking etc.). Obviously many animals (cows, buffaloes and goats) had even worse fate than humans, as they were tied in stables. No matter how outrageous it is for fighters for animal-rights, it is a traditional livelihood of Nepalis, they depend on the cow and buffalo milk and goat meat, in many areas ox used for ploughing the earth). The price of a buffalo or cow is many tens of thousands of rupees.

THE CONSTRUCTION PROBLEM

It is a sad story repeated over history again and again… When catastrophes hit the land, the poorest of the poorest are the most suffering, losing even that little they ever had… In the case of Nepal it is often a ground-floor clay-wooden hut, a few pots, a few cows and goats, and a few blankets and sacks of rice and corn… Yet paradoxically those who had just a small village clay house with roof from hay, survived, as it is easy to run out from such a place, and no heavy material to fall on them. Yet many houses in Nepal are of more floors, even in villages, and built of crunchy brick, stone, concrete bricks. To build a really spacious house for the many-generation family is a typical phenomenon of Nepal’s construction-boom, while in a country known for corruption the permissions to build nearly anything and nearly anywhere, and safety rules had been avoided for years… Many-floored brick houses were also a traditional urban building style in Nepal for centuries, especially in the Kathmandu Valley, influenced by the ancient Newari culture.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/apr/29/nepal-earthquake-

Most collapsed houses had been either old brick houses, never renovated, or badly engineered concrete-block buildings, eventually the combination of brick, clay and concrete, metal tins and stone, but the most human lives were lost in higher than ground-floor houses.


 

The below links are officially considered so called “useful links”, yes I must warn the reader about the experience of my Nepali and foreign friends, who did not get any response even after reporting the need for relief on these websites. So take them as just an alternative way, not as a functioning and sure way to organize your help:

For civil volunteers (who needs what and who offers what help):

http://kaha.co/#/app/section/volunteer

To report where people need which urgent help:

http://help.sparrowsms.com 

List of CDOs with contact numbers (leaders of local governments of villages):

http://drrportal.gov.np/uploads/news/8.pdf

RESCUE THROUGH DAILY APPLIED HUMANITY, MORAL RULES AND PRAYER

Yet through all the material help the greatest effect has prayer! God is the giver, and also the taker, as the Torah (Old Testament) says. The current ‘Maha Bhukampa’ is the result of human sins, and disrespect to the Dharmic tradition of the land of Nepal. And not only the Nepalese residing there, but also those who visit and stay. I cannot repeat enough that the sins of harming human beings with violence, lies, sexual assaults, torture, in the name of Dharma, had been shouting to the sky for long. The sins of killing animals in the name of getting boons from the Gods, was a prolonged insult of all the purpose for which human beings ever worshiped divinity. The sins of using Dharma as a way of business, attracting money and material goods through wearing monk robes, had been defiling Buddha’s heritage…

So your part, no matter if you reside on the turbulent land of Nepal or abroad, but having a connection with Nepal, your part is to return to the sincere and concretely applied morality, humanity, non-harming anyone under any justification. By following the Pancha Shila by Buddhist to the very litera, following the Ten Commandments for Christians and the ethical rules set by the Bhagavadgita, and Yama-Niyama rules set by Patanjali for Yogis, we can all best contribute to the rescue of human beings in Nepal after the earthquake.

If the priority of Nepal and those foreigners who are connected to the land, will be entirely stopping all witch-huntings of women,stopping the epidemic of sexual assaults and rapes against all women and baby girls, stopping to torture any human beings at any justification, stopping cheating for financial gain, then the suffering of the Land will also stop and Nepal could once again return to become the land of Dharma…

THIS is the most effective rescue operation we all can do, and there is a guarantee that the land of Muktinath Shiva, Pashupatinath Shiva, the land of Devgath Gods, the land blessed by Durga Devi’s protection, the birth place of Buddha, the residence of Milarepa and Guru Rinpoche, will be healed and renewed, and religion once again installed as the main feature of the country.

Yet this also includes strict action against the criminals, and against fake gurus who incite criminals to do criminal deeds in the name of religion or devotion…

 

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One thought on “Where to help and how to help!

  1. Pingback: A blessed district and a blessed helicopter | The Halkhoria Times

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