Saturday, May 30, 2015

#NepalEarthquake: Youth at the forefront of rescue and rehabilitation in times of disaster

Life in Nepal was brought to halt after the devastating quake on April 25. After 12 days, life is trying hard to get back on track. Kathmandu, the most populous city, received quick help from all across the globe. The role of youth has been crucial all this while. Various young individuals and youth organisations are at the forefront of rescue and rehabilitation processes in Nepal. Absence of an organised disaster management system in the crucial times have brought in focus the need of having one.

The quake has brought together various individual efforts in Nepal together. Now, they are directing international organisations to work in areas which need severe attention. The relief work in Sindhupalchok is a good example of how youth, by using various social media platforms directed the attention of people, international organisations and government to rehabilitation work. Gorkha District was also neglected initially, but now through regular updates and appeal, rescue and rehabilitation work is on track now.

Various individuals in Nepal have resorted to online platforms IndieGogo, KickStarter and BitGiving to raise funds to rebuild the nation. On IndieGogo alone there are 104 campaigns running which have raised $ 1.36 million from almost 15,000 funders! The website has featured all the fundraising campaign relating to Nepal earthquake on its homepage under a single banner. ‘Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund’, an individual campaign run by Dr Bijay Acharya has raised $ 416,573 in 12 days.

There are parts of the country which have been devastated. It is times like this when rehabilitation work must be seen as an opportunity to rebuild the country. It is important that people plan and then execute the rehabilitation work. As major portion of Nepal is prone to earthquakes, because of its crucial geographical location on the tectonic plates, it becomes essential that new buildings are planned keeping this in mind. The young brigade of Nepal, which is unified through online medium, have taken to this and are directing organisations and authorities to do the same. It is certainly a crucial contribution in the larger process.

“We need civil engineers in coming days. Monsoon will approach very soon- in a month’s time. Many villages will need homes to be rebuild. It is high time people start connecting keeping this in mind.” shares Bikkil, an activist involved in the rescue operation in various parts near Kathmandu.

Most of the online campaigns have offline ground presence as well. Individuals and groups are raising funds to support the various ongoing activities relating to rescue people, providing food to the affected people, providing medical assistance to them, and rebuilding the infrastructure in various villages.

It is time when we all come forward in whatever ways we can- share about the fund raising activities; share information relating to rescue operations and about various active groups within our own social circle so that more people receive help in numerous ways.

Looking forward to a better tomorrow.

The article was written for LokMarg and The Emergency (a temporary portal to report from earthquake hit Nepal). It was published on May 7, 2015

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