April 29, 2015

Nepal Earthquake: How to Help

Author National Philanthropic Trust

Rescue and relief efforts are underway after the devastating earthquake in Nepal on April 25. Officials have warned that fatalities could reach 10,000.

The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which responds to complex emergencies and natural disasters like this one, estimates that $415 million is needed for immediate humanitarian relief, 3 million people are in need of food aid and 24,000 people are displaced. As more information comes in about the widespread effects of the earthquake, donors are searching for ways to help.

NPT has posted a list of charities that are providing on-the-ground relief in Nepal. In our experience, there are several important things to keep in mind when supporting relief efforts:

1. Give to reputable organizations that are operating in the affected areas. See our list here. Experience tells us that organizations already working in the affected areas deploy resources more effectively than new ones created after the disaster strikes.
2. Give cash. While things like clothes and food are needed, in-kind donations can create bottlenecks for aid workers and take much-needed cargo space away from relief supplies.
3. Commit to following and supporting relief efforts over time. One of the most challenging aspects of relief work is the sustainability. Donations pour in when disasters stay in the news cycle, but they often stop once the real rebuilding efforts start. Consider making several donations over a period of time to help build infrastructure; restore schools, housing and hospitals; and rebuild sustainable communities after the crisis.