I’m writing this post today with a heavy heart. As you probably have read in the news, there was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal on Saturday that has left the small Himalayan country devastated. Thousands have died, hundreds of thousands have been left homeless, millions of dollars in damage has been done to the country’s buildings and infrastructure, and centuries-old monuments have been reduced to rubble.
I was lucky enough to travel to Nepal last year and spend several weeks exploring both the capital city of Kathmandu and several Sherpa villages in the Himalayas. I found it to be an incredibly beautiful country, full of warm and welcoming people, most of which live with far far less than we do in the West, yet they were some of the most joyful and gracious folks I’ve come across.
When I first heard about the earthquake, I immediately thought of my first day in Kathmandu. I’d noticed how flimsy, high and narrow so many of the buildings were and how tangled and chaotic the power lines were in the city. I told our local guide Narayan that I wouldn’t want to be here in an earthquake, and he told us about the big one they had 80 years ago that had leveled the city. I remember him saying that they hadn’t had a big one there in years.
These kinds of horrific natural disasters are always followed by an outpouring of help from around the world, which is an awesome thing and says a lot about the goodness of humanity. However, so many people clamoring to help can sometimes get confusing and can lead to an unorganized relief effort (Read this Guardian piece for explanation).
If you’d like to help to help the people of Nepal immediately with the search and rescue operations and the impending long and difficult recovery period, there are plenty of international aid organizations you can donate to that will get the aid there the quickest. This article will help you choose the best one to give your money to and here is a good list of organizations to start with.
I split my donations between World Vision, which is one of the biggies that allows you to donate $10 by simply texting the word NEPAL to 777-444, and the Planeterra Foundation run by G Adventures (a travel company I love) which has several short term and long term projects in Nepal. But if you want to help, do it on your own terms and choose the organization you feel the best about.
Whatever you do, remember this: a small chunk of change from you could mean the difference between life or death for someone affected by this earthquake. It’s worth it.