About: Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC)

Coordination and information management becomes a major challenge in the event of or immediately following a large scale disaster. To address this issue, Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) established the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) in December 2010 as a coordination and communication point for disaster information across Nepal. In the same line and with the objective of further strengthening the health sector response capacity, EHA WHO proposed to establish Health Emergency Operation Centre as a central command and control facility for the effective administration of emergency preparedness and disaster management in any emergency situation. As a result, MoHP, in 2012, decided (Secretary level decision, dated 12 January 2012) to establish HEOC within the MoHP premises.

HEOC will operate under the Curative Service Division and function as a high level operational centre for the MoHP’s various divisions, such as Department of Health Services particularly Epidemiology and Disease Control Division. HEOC will host necessary resources and data for effective coordination and response during emergencies. During emergency, the centre will function 24/7 with trained and dedicated staff. HEOC will be equipped with communication material such as telephone, mobile, internet, satellite phones, etc. In addition, it will consist of all information technology for communicating and coordinating with NEOC, Central Referral Hospitals, Regional hospitals, etc. so that HEOC can update data regularly and coordinate disaster response appropriately.

In addition to the immediate response and management of health related implication of any disaster, HEOC will also play a pivotal role in maintaining operational linkages between health sector preparedness and response mechanism and the existing and emerging institutions/mechanisms of community, district, regional and the central level disaster risk management initiatives. For example, HEOC as the operational hub during emergency and non-emergency setting, will build on and update the policies, strategies, planning tools, database etc for the health sector emergency preparedness, response and rehabilitation.

About: Humanitarian-Military Operations Coordination Centre (HuMOCC)

The Humanitarian-Military Operations Coordination Centre (HuMOCC) is established as part of the Nepal Earthquake response operation. Meetings will take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Multinational Military Coordination Center (MNMCC) at 8.30am. The HuMOCC objective is to provide a predictable humanitarian-military coordination platform. Complementary to the OSOCC, the HuMOCC aims to provide the physical space dedicated to facilitating the interface between humanitarian and military actors present in country. This is the “space” where humanitarian capacity gaps during the critical period emanating from the OSOCC, Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) or clusters could be temporarily filled-up by available military capacity.

The HuMOCC will also serve as a one-stop shop for information-sharing and update, task sharing and division, and shared/joint planning on humanitarian needs and gaps (actual, anticipated or projected) and available military capacity on the ground. The HuMOCC services are geared towards optimising the use of available military assets to support humanitarian priorities in critically affected locations. The HuMOCC will deliver the following services in support of the Government of Nepal to proactively address anticipated humanitarian-military operational coordination needs:

Provide a predictable and effective coordination mechanism on the ground that avoids the establishment of ad-hoc and/or intermediate civil-military coordination platforms that creates duplication, confusion and additional chaos;

Facilitate access to rapid and comprehensive assessment information that identify priorities, needs, and requirements that are made the basis of operational planning of national and international efforts, including the use of FMA;

Contribute to establishing a needs-based and demand-driven system that effectively and efficiently matches the requirements and gaps identified on the ground with appropriate foreign military assets and capacity;

Advise, as timely as possible, on the appropriate FMA to be deployed into the affected State and share priority locations for FMA deployment/coverage based on the NEOC’s priorities;

Contribute to achieving and maintaining common situational awareness that can be shared amongst all actors responding to the disaster in a coherent and systematic manner;

Facilitate effective and consistent sharing of information between humanitarian and military actors;

Raise awareness and understanding among humanitarian organisations and military actors of the humanitarian civil-military coordination (UN-CMCoord) function;

Facilitate identification of realistic indicators and benchmarks, including evaluation criteria and triggers for transition from military to civilian assets as well as drawdown and redeployment of military forces.

For further information, please contact the UN-CMCoord team at the following email address: cmcoordnepal@gmail.com

To report access or issues which impede the delivery of humanitarian assistance, or other securiy incidents, please use the dedicated form uploaded on this page and submit it to the following address: eqbottlenecks@un.org.np (cc: cmcoordnepal@gmail.com).

Handling Dead Bodies

Click here for the Nepali translation.

Proper Way to Handle Dead Human and Animal Bodies in the Aftermath of
Earthquake 2015

There appears to be a disproportionate fear about spread of diseases through decomposing dead bodies. But the facts state otherwise.

Here are some clarifications and recommendations:

  • Dead bodies do not cause epidemics.
  • There is a very minimal risk to public health from dead bodies. However, If leaked feces from dead bodies contaminate water sources that can increase disease as is applicable for any other forms of fecal water contamination. So purification of drinking water is very important, and the best way is boiling.
  • There is no value of spraying dead bodies with disinfectants or lime powder
  • Those who handle dead bodies should use precautions like gloves and masks to prevent acquisition of already existing diseases of the dead person.
  • Smell of dead bodies is unpleasant but it does not increase the risk of disease.
  • Priority should be saving those who might be alive and not rushing to dispose of dead bodies.
  • Mass cremation or mass burial of dead bodies should be avoided.
  • Should not rush to dispose of the bodies; identification and handing to family and loved ones by a due process should be the priority. That means retrieval and storage of dead bodies for the due process is important.
  • Temporary burial is an option to slow down decomposition of body where facilities for refrigeration don’t exist. Burial should be 1.5m deep, each body should be properly marked, at least 0.4 m should be left between bodies and should not be laid over one another.

It is urgent to collect and dispose of dead bodies when the community might be affected psychologically by seeing many of them, and not usually because of health related risks. This is especially the case with children.

Small note about dead animals:

  • Dead animals also possess very little public health hazard.
  • As a temporary measure, large animals can be sprayed with oil and covered with some dirt before the time and opportunity for full burial arises.
  • Use of gloves, if available, and washing hands with plenty of soap and water after handling dead animals is important.
  • Use of ways to avoid mosquito bites like insect repellants, mosquito nets (if available) when outdoors can prevent mosquito borne illnesses in these conditions, as emergencies such as natural disasters may lead to more mosquitoes.
  • On site burial is the easiest and least expensive method. Open burning is other choice of option. Composting works well for poultry disposal in natural disasters but is a slow process.

Note: This information is based on publications from the World Health Organization (WHO), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Pan American Health Organization, CDC (Center for Disease control and Prevention) and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)

Sritika Thapa MD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,
Baltimore, Maryland

Subarna Dhital MD
Eastern Maine Medical Center
Bangor, Maine.

 

Ongoing Efforts and Tools

These are some of the ongoing efforts that we know about :

Aggregation of information related to the quake:  http://www.onestopportal.org .

Geo-mapping of needs and supplies: http://www.kathmandulivinglabs.org/earthquake/

“One-stop shop” for coordination within Nepal: http://leadnepal.com/earthquake/

Location of camps and open spaces in Kathmandu: http://bit.ly/1QByC5E

Here are some useful tools:

Available Resources: http://kaha.co/

Live Aftershock Map: National Seismological Center

Person Finder: Google Person Finder

Safety Check: Facebook

Map of food, water, shelter and medical resources: Google Maps

Want to share information? Click here to anonymously submit information/requests/news to nepalquake.

Looking for data?  Click here for the Informal Survey of Roadside Infrastructure around Kathmandu. And here for satellite imagery, and here for lots more data.

How can you help? Click here if you want to find out where to send money, where to volunteer or are otherwise seeking guidance on how to get involved in the recovery effort through various organizations that are already working there.

Where can you find help? Click here if you want to find out what is available to you (money, equipment, supplies, blood etc.) because you are in Nepal, or coordinating assistance in Nepal.

Who is helping now? Click here if you want to search our database of efforts already underway, and the organizations doing it.

Contact us at faq@nepalquake.org

How can I help?

The Short Version

There are several ways to help.  Please consider helping student volunteers complete the very important job of rapidly assessing damaged homes.

You can donate money to organizations already involved in earthquake relief and recovery efforts. (Please remember that we make a good faith effort to verify the information, but you should of course use your own common sense). You can fundraise as an individual or as a group. For online volunteering, there are various venues such as the Youth Opportunities. If you are not in Nepal already, we don’t suggest that you go unless it is essential for what you want to do. Click here to learn why.

Sending Materials

Sending money is recommended over sending stuff. Even if you send items listed under emergency kits, such as medicines and dry foods, it is complicated to get the materials into the country and through customs in an already overtaxed airport in Nepal. This is why.

Donate

Decide how much you can give and divide it into two sums: one  for short-term relief and the other for long-term recovery. Although immediate relief is needed, there needs to be a continuous and long-term effort. Think about whether you want to support an international or local organization; an organization focused on a certain district or the whole country; and/or organizations with a long history of work in Nepal and with previous experience in disaster relief or rebuilding. You can use this link to learn more about these organizations: just use the sort function on the spreadsheet. This site also provides a ranking of donors (nepalquake.org does not endorse either the ranking or the fund – you should do your own research).  We are working on presenting this information with an easier interface. Below we have provided examples of few organizations working on short-term relief based on the reports from the ground.

For short term efforts, you can donate to:

(a) an international organization with long history of disaster management in the country and wide network like Red Cross, Doctors without Borders. However, these organizations have large overhead and may not continue to work in the long term.

(b) Smaller non-governmental and grassroots organizations who are not as well known internationally BUT your money might be more targeted (such as for building toilets), and might reach faster. Examples are the American Nepal Medical Foundation; Bibeksheel nepali, Help Nepal Network.

America Nepal Medical Foundation: Bijay and his team have developed a facility needs assessment and are sending supplies to hospitals in and out of Kathmandu, and coordinating physicians. They have established a supply chain between India and Nepal that they are using to transfer medical supplies and tents. Colleagues from the Harvard Medical School and MIT are closely involved with these efforts.

Help Nepal Network: Works across health and education and has an active network across all 75 districts in Nepal. Their efforts for disaster relief will form part of their larger goal of strengthening the health and education sectors in Nepal.

Bibeksheel Nepali: A grassroots organization working with volunteers in Nepal to provide medical and relief materials within Kathmandu and affected districts. Donate through link to SEBS donation page and choose Bibeksheel Nepali as recipients.

(c) Personal connections:  You can send money directly to people you know in affected areas. At this point, money transfers like Western Union are more efficient than bank transfers. Western Union has waived fee.

(d) Individual crowdsourced fundraisers: Although these campaigns are set up with good intentions, be aware of issues such as the high platform fees, credit card fees. This is the portion of your money that does not go to Nepal, but is charged by the organization transferring your money. Crowdfunding sites in particular often charge a fairly large fee. Also check the credibility of the fundraisers and inquire about the recipients and accountability of these funds. Here are the list of the individual fundraisers under the “Individual Campaigns” tab.

  1. Long-term efforts

It is important to pay attention to these issues when deciding to donate to either governmental, international or grassroots / local organizations.

Anatomy of disaster response:
While the first instinct among everyone abroad and far away is to help, there is often a pattern in how the government and international community together respond to a disaster. Understanding the anatomy of disaster response will prepare us to think about the long-term recovery and how we can contribute next. Click here to read more.
Recommendations from a disaster response specialist:
While we are eager to help at this moment, everyone is focused on the earthquake at the moment, but only some of us will care about it in a week’s time and stay tuned in the months and even years to come. Here are some recommendations from a disaster response specialist who has been involved in disaster response in multiple contexts to Nepalis who want to think about long-term recovery. Click here to read more.

The primary way to support government efforts is to donate to the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund, which is allocated by a committee consisting of senior bureaucrats in the Government of Nepal under the Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission wherever it is required. The Prime Minister does not have discretion over it.

(*) If you know of an organization we didn’t include, please fill out this form. The list is based on another list that was circulated, but whose authors we could not get in touch with.

Fundraising

There has been independent efforts to fund-raise either by crowdsourcing or working with groups (e.g. student groups). Please consider these issues before deciding on starting fundraising campaign. We will be updating information on this so please keep on checking for information.

  1. Individuals raising funds can be taxed heavily
  2. Crowdsource platforms will charge a heavy fee in addition to the 3% processing fee
  3. Transferring money to be Nepal is a complicated process.
    • You need to be careful of the Patriot Act because you cannot transfer more than $10,000.
    • The best way is to have connection to a 501(3)(c) NGO which works in U.S. with a sister organization already working in Nepal.
    • Even for a NGO, there is a limit on the amount of money you can spend based on earlier budget and have to apply for a IRS waiver for sending money.
    • Nepal has its own hard currency import rules. Different banks have different limits of how much you can accept and transfer. This needs to be taken into account as well.