Folks PLEASE READ and SHARE:
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about how the government is keeping the relief goods and professionals at the airport and hampering rescues. I had to find out for sure what is exactly going on and what is rumor. I am working with folks on the ground that have the exact knowledge of what is going on. This includes government officials as well as a major humanitarian agency..
Here’s the situation: Nepal is a small country. For someone to “Enter” Nepal in any capacity, they need to have proper documentation to go through the immigration and customs process. Because of the knee-jerk reaction of many people who want to help, the government is inundated with supplies on the ground as well as volunteers who just SHOWED UP without getting a formal invitation from an agency on the ground. There are piles and piles of emergency meds, tents, and survival kits sitting in the airport. So as much as we like to find a scape goat to blame, please know that this would be the case in any country. One cannot expect an immigration/customs of ANY country to just let people in because they are there to “help”. So I am begging each one of you who are trying to drop everything to go there. Please know that there are so many supplies that need to be distributed and existing backlogs at the airport to be processed by immigration. PLEASE DO NOT GO TO NEPAL RIGHT NOW unless you have a prior coordination and formal invitation by a relief agency. For those of us who are frustrated that we are not there on the ground, there is a lot we can do from here.
If you want to help please do the following:
1. Donate money to agency on the ground (best would be local NGOs or relief organizations) so they can purchase and deploy items internally without putting stress to the system.
2. Coordinate and collaborate with agency: specially if you are a doctor, nurse, public health professional, and disaster relief professional. If you do the leg work before getting on that flight, you will be make a large impact.
3. Swine flu is already detected in Baneshwor (Kathmandu) due to bad sanitation issues. Sanitation, from multiple sources is the BIGGEST challenge there currently. Let’s work together to call on different companies in the US and elsewhere to work towards getting a shipment sent. We can work with the government agency as well as local non-profit to insure that these products are received and deployed in orderly fashion and not piled in a corner at the airport.
3. Think about long term. Think about what happens in about a month or two when most media and relief agencies leave? We need to rebuild. ForGreaterGood (see FB page) is calling on volunteers who can work with Habitat for Humanity and their partner agency on the ground to get the logistics ready to rebuild. Time has come to think about resettlement and rebuilding.
Again, if you see posts blaming the government, I would urge you to refrain from ‘buying’ in to the rumors. As in any other developing country, there is bound to be corruption. This does not represent the government of a country and times like these we need to put our critical thinking skills to use and shift through the rumors. I know it is frustrating being so far away and having to rely on hearsay but please know that if we work together in an orderly fashion with prior coordination and collaboration with the ones doing the work on the ground, I am certain we can make a larger SUSTAINABLE difference.