Nepal has been twice-struck by tragedy in a very short period of time. In times of need, it’s always our first impulse to help in any way we can. However, our best intentions may not the most effective way to help people affected by the disaster. What materials are most required during a disaster? What is the best way to transport it to the site where it is needed? Based on our interactions with NGOs working in disaster relief, we've put together a list of ways in which you can extend your support.
- Donations in kind: Several organisations are looking for specific in-kind donations that are required on the ground. The best and most urgently required donations in kind are packaged food, water and supplies as the danger of contamination is less. Supplies like biscuits, grains and pulses are ideal. Do not offer cooked food/semi-cooked food unless specified. The other much-needed requirement is for tarpaulins, sleeping bags, blankets, sanitary napkins and basic medicines. NGOs often find that people tend to donate used or expired material that cannot further be re-used. Do ensure that the material donated is in decent condition and can be used by someone else. NGOs that are transporting medicines will also specify what kinds of medicine they require urgently, so do check if there is a ready list before donating.
- You could drop off required material at select FabIndia stores across the country. FabIndia, Times of India, IndiGo and Shree Airlines are partnering to collect material and transport it to Nepal. They have a full list of requirements and dropoff stores here.
- Goonj.. has experience in disaster relief and has received government clearance to undertake work in Nepal. They are looking for materials like tarpaulins, blankets, medicines, tents, wheelchairs, crutches and sarees. You can find the whole list here. They have drop-off centres in Delhi, Haryana, Indore, Jaipur, Mysore, Mumbai, Siliguri and other places across the country.
- Rohan Shrestha and Bouncy Mehta are organising relief supplies to be sent to Nepal. They are collecting dry ration food supplies, lifestyle equipment (sleeping bags, tarpaulin, mosquito nets), and medical supplies. You can find a full list of their requirements here. They have pickup points at Andheri West, Kemps Corner and Juhu in Mumbai, so do drop off anything that can be of use.
- Donate to international organisations: If you are an Indian national and wish to donate money, consider donating to international NGOs like UNICEF, Save the Children and others with experience and authorisation to work in disaster relief management. (See a full list of organisations you can support here). Be aware that NGOs registered in India are required to have government clearance to deploy funds for relief work outside India. The approvals usually take between three to six months to come through. However, income tax officials have stated that they will give NGOs the required clearance within 2 working days of applying. Do make sure to ask your NGO of choice if it has received the required clearance to send money to Nepal.
- Check the implications of your donations: Is your corporate considering disaster relief as part of its CSR contribution? Yes, corporates can use their CSR funds to intervene in disaster situations. However, CSR funds cannot be deployed for disaster relief work in Nepal. Government rules requires that CSR funds be spent only on activities within India. If you would like to make a donation of money, you could consider the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, which will deploy the money for relief work or compensation for those affected in India. AccountAid has also pointed out that contributions can be made directly to the Nepalese Prime Minister's Natural Disaster Relief Fund here.