Of the 75 districts in Nepal, 12 were severely affected by the major earthquake that occurred on Saturday April 25 and the 100+ aftershocks that continued for the next week. Most of the damage happened in the Kathmandu Valley and adjoining districts. The total affected households and population in all affected districts combined is on the upside of 10 lakhs and 40 lakhs respectively.
The capital city is the only urban area severely affected. The rest of the damage happened in rural areas where road and health care infrastructure is minimal at best and in fact non-existent in many parts. A majority of the people residing in these districts live 3-4 hours from the nearest dirt road. The popular trekking region of Langtang, for example, has no road access and can only be provided relief supplies via helicopters. Even inside the Kathmandu Valley, the southern part of the district of Lalitpur is void of any modern roads and health care facilities. Numerous houses in these districts, as in the affected districts, have been damaged, the people homeless and the State incapable of providing immediate relief.
Government hospitals, under-resourced and under-staffed on normal days, were completely overwhelmed by the inflow of patients injured by the quakes. The official count (increasing day-by-day) is of more than 7,000 deaths and 15,000 injured. Though hospital personnel work extra shifts taking care of patients, hospitals have exhausted their medical supplies and are struggling to provide medication to their patients. The government, also under-resourced, has also run out of supplies and is struggling to restock hospitals with medicine.
At this juncture, Nepal has no other option but to rely on import of medication as the domestic pharmaceutical companies are not able to meet the sudden rise in demand in the aftermath of this disaster. The international community has stepped up relief operations and are flying in needed supplies and personnel to help in this national calamity. Large quantities of materials are also entering Nepal by road. Unfortunately, the Customs Department – like the hospitals and the entire government machinery – is also overwhelmed by the amount of goods coming into Nepal. It will take days, if not weeks, for these lifesaving supplies to clear Customs, get deployed to the district headquarters via Nepal’s weak and crumbling road network and finally to remote areas from the district headquarters.
All is not lost though. The citizens are stepping up. Everyone that is able to is volunteering time and resources to help those in need. Thousands of youth have volunteered to clean the debris from damaged houses and temples while others are providing access to their homes, tents and food. Institutions, office colleagues and friends are collaborating to raise funds, procuring essential supplies such as food, shelter and medicine and heading towards rural Nepal to distribute to those in need.
Likewise teams of medical doctors supported by volunteers are organizing medical camps in rural areas focusing on treatment as well as providing awareness on cleanliness, temporary sanitation facilities and proper management of toilets. Focus is on prevention of epidemics and treatment of diarrhea and dysentery at a time when hundreds of thousands of Nepalese are living in tents and tarps.
These camps, numerous in number and spontaneously organized by teams of doctors, are mobile, on the ground and taking care of more and more of Nepal’s rural population. They provide lifesaving medical treatments and prevention of epidemics. However, these teams of medical doctors are not institutionally funded and therefore need resources. Medical teams need to arrange for vehicles, food, materials to construct temporary toilets and most important – medicine.
Many of these medical missions have requested immediate medical supplies, and we would like to help them.
The following are the items that have been requested by these missions immediately:
We are a group of professionals, working as consulting staffs for the Investment Board of Nepal, a high-level body chaired by the prime minister of Nepal to oversee large scale infrastructure projects in the country. In the aftermath of this disaster, our primary focus right now is to provide on the ground support in every way possible for the country to fight this calamity. There are a total of three efforts we are focused on in partnership with an NGO named Smile Nepal (http://esmilenepal.org/), and NGO that was established by one of our colleagues three years ago with a purpose to help homeless street children.
- Adopt a Village (Long Term)
This is our long term post earth quake rebuilding initiative, where we have chosen to adopt two villages for a complete rebuild (http://esmilenepal.org/adopt-a-village/). We are working on a funding gateway to raise funds for this effort
- Sourcing Medical Supplies Needed by Medical Teams (Short Term)
The initiative that this paper describes, as well as on this link: http://esmilenepal.org/medical-supplies/
- Supplying food, water and daily essentials (Short Term)
We’ve managed to collect funds through our own fundraiser to continue to provide daily essentials to those that have lost their homes and livelihoods
Although there are several relief efforts being led by the government, this initiative to source medical supplies is purely our own personal initiative, and is not in any way affiliated with the organization we work for. The medical supplies donated to Smile Nepal will be channeled directly to the medical missions as well as government hospitals, and Smile Nepal’s website will be updated regularly that the contributors can check to see the difference that their support is making.
In order to ensure that these essential medical supplies clear customs immediately, the point of contact, mentioned below, plans to travel with the goods as a custodian. Furthermore, the following things must be kept in mind:
The below listed procedures are essential to be followed for hassle free custom clearance and smooth transactions of the relief operations:
The items that are being shipped by air must have:
- Airway Bill
- Packing List
- Letter from sender clarifying that goods are sent for earthquake victims through Smile Nepal earthquake relief
- Scanned copy of all above mentioned documents must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, prior to dispatching goods.
The sender must include full name address and contact details of the consignee which is as follows:
53/41 Milap Marg
The point of contact for this effort is:
Name: Sanjay Poudyal
Phone: +977 9801001975 (Nepal); +91 9560727441 (Delhi)