Unless you have a legitimate disaster-response skill set, sending money is the best way to benefit the Nepali people. In the wake of the recent 7.8-magnitude earthquake, we may feel the urge to send provisions, but many experts point out that it's often more efficient to empower local aid groups to regionally purchase the precise supplies that they need. Nepal is seeing massively inflated prices on food and medical supplies, and response teams require the capital to bring in resources from neighboring countries. Here, we've assembled a list of local and international aid groups below, to help clarify how you can direct your donations to benefit Nepal in this time of crisis.
Shedrub Development Fund
The Shedrub Development Fund is directed by spiritual leader Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, and is running off monk-power from Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, as well as local volunteers in Boudhanath. The neighborhood of Boudhanath is primarily Tibetan, and lies on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Though the earthquake smashed much of the infrastructure near the region, most of Boudha's monasteries suffered minimal damage. Wearing blue rescue vests over their red robes, Ka-Nying's monks led scouting missions to several mountain villages that are yet to be reached by international aid teams. They determined what resources these villages need, have assembled teams to gather resources, and are hiking into the mountains to deliver supplies.
Chokgyur Lingpa Foundation
The Chokgyur Lingpa Foundation is under the direction of Phakchok Rinpoche, another Buddhist leader in the Tibetan community. He and his senior monks are providing temporary shelter, food, and water to the homeless and have sent aid teams to help people in the isolated regions of Tara Bir and Yolmo. Large NGO aid agencies have not accessed these regions, and many of the monks associated with CGLF were born in these remote areas. "In a stressful time such as this, their presence as aid volunteers is both spiritually and materially soothing to the affected people. Their knowledge of the local dialects, customs, and expectations equips them to deal very effectively with the needs of the Nepalis," the CGLF reports.
Karuna-Shechen has managed over 140 humanitarian projects in Nepal, India, and Tibet. Matthieu Ricard, the well-known French monk, is the President and Co-founder of the organization. It is associated with Shechen Monastery and Shechen Medical Clinic, which did not suffer major damage during the quake. The monastery compound is currently operating as a shelter and medical first aid center for people in Kathmandu. Food and water are being provided to thousands camping in the monastery courtyard. Prior to the earthquake, Karuna-Shechen trained Advanced First Aiders (AFA) across Nepal to assist in case of an emergency such as this. They therefore have operations active in remote villages that have suffered maximum casualties.
Nepal Red Cross
With over 1500 local volunteers and 300 staff, the Nepal Red Cross is capable of navigating local communities across the country. They've led search and rescue efforts, provided first aid and psychosocial services, and are providing health services at evacuation centers. The NRCS states that they offered first aid to more than 800 people on the weekend of the disaster. Efforts are now directed toward accessing towns and villages closer to the epicenter of the quake between Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Oxfam is an international aid organization, whose primary response in the aftermath of the quake is directed at mitigating secondary disasters such as disease outbreak, by providing clean water and toilets. Oxfam is currently attending to four open-air sites in the Kathmandu Valley, and are working with other agencies to expand their outreach to 16 sites developed by the Nepali government. Their goal is to assist at least 350,000 people suffering from lack of hygiene and clean drinking water.
CARE is working to provide emergency supplies and hygiene kits to over 2,500 people in rural areas like Gorkha (which is near the heavily damaged epicenter of the quake). "The needs in response to this catastrophe are immense, and CARE staff on the ground are now putting plans in place to assist up to 75,000 people with temporary shelter, ready-to-eat meals, water purification and toilet construction," the organization states. They currently have 150 staff in Nepal.
Though initially responding within Kathmandu, Mercy Corps is now distributing emergency supply kits to small villages like Chapagaon, outside of the Kathmandu Valley. The kits include tarps, blankets, cooking utensils, soap, towels and water purification tablets.
Direct Relief is systematically aggregating and deploying medical teams from various aid organizations. Though they provide material support, like shipping 250 pounds of antibiotics and wound care, their disaster response is to work with local partners and empower them to traverse the path of long-term recovery. The organization does not operate off a general aid procedure, but works the singular conditions of each disaster to focus on implementing an intelligent logistical approach. Essentially, they harness what needs to be harnessed and put aid groups into action in the most efficient way possible.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders deployed surgical teams to Kathmandu and Gorkha and continues to assess the medical needs of hospitals and camps in both regions. Medical teams are running eight dialysis machines around the clock, primarily to treat patients with chronic conditions rather than those with "crush syndrome." Doctors Without Borders is not currently accepting donations specifically for Nepal, as they claim to need more visibility on the scope of their response. You can view updates here.