Tuesday, April 28

Good review on how to help crisis victims in far-off lands UPDATED 4:15 AM EDT 4/29

This CNN report is from yesterday but it lays out the major factors making aid distribution hard in the country. Also has a chart showing which foreign countries have aid workers in Nepal. Interestingly the chart shows that Taiwan has 20 workers in the country.  Yet the chart doesn't include India, which of course has workers in the country.   So I dunno.  Anyhow, the overview of the main obstacles is good.

1. From NPR:

What You Need To Know Before Donating To Earthquake Relief For Nepal
by Diane Cole
April 28, 2015 5:46 PM ET

Great review of all the basics and helpful links for individuals who want to do charitable giving to help foreigners (and fellow citizens) in crisis. Cole leads off by citing an expert on the top point:  if you're going to give, do it fast in a disaster situation, because it's the early days and weeks where financial assistance is the big lifesaver.  

Yet the need for speed puts tremendous pressure on the giver to assure the donation is going to the right people and being disbursed fast.  And in a country like Nepal, giving to established humanitarian aid networks in the country is key -- networks that have or can quickly muster the ability to deal with a flood of donations.  With both issues, the NPR report is helpful. 

But I'll add that internet tech types can donate their time to helping smaller humanitarian aid organizations with good networks gear up fast for a big influx of donations and queries.    
2. Beware "Voluntourism."  From Slate:

Don’t Go to Nepal to Help. Stay Home and Send Money Instead!
If you hop on the next flight to Kathmandu, you will cause more problems than you solve.
By Jessica Alexander
April 27, 2015

Tough, even cynical advice from an expert who knows the ropes of humanitarian aid, which she mentions has been described as "the world’s most unregulated industry."

But her aim in the writing is to save amateurs from rookie mistakes that only make matters worse for the victims of a disaster and the professionals on the ground rendering help. 

3.  For those looking for pointers on which charities to investigate -- here's TIME's list with links for 6 charities working in Nepal; these in addition to the list that the magazine published on Monday.     


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