Announcing a third beneficiary–Gurkha Welfare Trust–which will receive approximately $30,000 raised in 2015 by the humanist community of FBB for the Nepal earthquake recovery efforts. On April 25, 2015, Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake caused an avalanche on Mt. Everest, created mudslides, and destroyed more than half a million homes. As the Nepalese were just beginning to recover, a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit on May 12. Response efforts were complicated and delayed due to further damage and because many response workers were injured or killed by the second quake.
Now we know that over 8,500 people were killed and almost 18,000 were injured. In response, FBB launched a Humanist Disaster Recovery Drive and announced in June that $45,000 was raised and distributed to The Women’s Foundation Nepal and Society of Humanism Nepal. But because of a reporting error in our systems, we were unaware that FBB had actually collected an additional $30,000 for recovery in Nepal. As soon as we learned of our mistake, we verified these results and began working on a plan to distribute the remainder of the money.
In some ways, there’s a silver lining to our error. Sending this money to Nepal now will benefit the Nepalese recovery efforts more than it would have last summer. In the immediate wake of a disaster, individuals are most motivated to donate money to help. However, the costly process of rebuilding the infrastructure of a community goes on long after the tragedy. It is for this reason that FBB created a recovery rather than a response program. (For more information about the four phases of disaster recovery, see Science of Disasters: The Disaster Life Cycle.) The more time that passes after a disaster the less money there is for recovery. By sending the money now we are helping a community truly recover from, not just survive, a natural disaster.
The goal of Human Disaster Recovery Drive is to donate to local organizations rather than large international aid organizations, which can face inefficiencies in the aftermath of such large disasters. The local community is by far best suited to guide their own recovery, as they know what their community needs most. Our primary objective of HDR Drive is to empower capable local organizations and survivors throughout their community’s recovery process. Following the success of this HDR Drive, we will continue to use this model moving forward.
About the Beneficiary
Gurkha Welfare Trust is the great, local organization we have found that not only is already active in recovery activities but also has a strong long-term recovery plan serving their target communities. Gurkhas are soldiers from Nepal who have been recruited by the British army since 1815, including service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with limited industry, state-funded services, and infrastructure. Gurkha Welfare Trust provides financial, medical, and development aid to Gurkha veterans, their families, and their communities.
Because of the Trust’s long presence in the community before the earthquakes hit, they are able to identify and aid the areas that have the most need. In the immediate wake of the earthquakes, the Trust provided medical care, emergency supplies, and emergency shelter. Currently, they are working on repairing and building hundreds of homes, schools, community centers, and water projects and have recruited doctors and nurses to provide medical care in rural and isolated areas. The Trust’s long-term earthquake recovery plan is extensive and has grown organically out of the work they were already doing.
As always, we thank you for your generous support.
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Image credit: Johnny Fenn