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How charities and others are reaching out in Nepal
Charities around the world pledged to provide aid after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal, killing at least 3,000 people in four countries. - photo by Lane Anderson
Bishnu Adhikari and his family have been staying in the fields outside their home in Kathmandu, waiting out aftershocks after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal, killing at least 3,000 people in four countries, and the death count keeps rising.

Adhikari and his family enter their home only to use the bathroom and gather supplies, and to make quick phone calls to loved ones to let them know that they were alive.

"Strangely enough, his land line at his home is fine, but his house wasn't safe," said Chris Johnson, program director at CHOICE Humanitarian, that has received intermittent dispatches from Adhikari. Johnson works with Bishnu in Nepal, where CHOICE has been building sustainable projects with locals since 2001, including building schools, health clinics and installing clean water projects.

All of his contacts are safe, but Johnson's heart aches for the Nepalese people he works with, most of whom already struggle with poverty. "A lot of people who need help are the most inaccessible," says Johnson, whose work is mostly in the hard-hit but remote area of Lamjung, where there are reports of locals, isolated from aid, digging out their own families and neighbors from the rubble.

As aftershocks subside, charities and nonprofits big and small around the world are reaching out to Nepal. The United States government is sending disaster assistance along with search and rescue teams, and has pledged an initial $1 million in humanitarian assistance, according to NBC News.

Doctors Without Borders is sending four medical teams and 3,000 medical supply kits, and Google, which lost executive Dan Fredinburg in a Mount Everest avalanche triggered by the quake, has pledged $1 million in aid.

Save the Children, an international charity with over 400 people in the country, mostly Nepali, estimates that at least two million children were displaced in the quake. "Children are the most at risk during crisis," Save the Children said in a statement. "They are scared and confused and in need of help."

Were just gearing up, Roger Hodgson, Save the Children's deputy country director in Nepal, told the New York Times. People have been resilient. But its been difficult to get people and supplies into the country, especially to rural areas far from Katmandu.

World Help is a faith-based humanitarian organization that is providing first responders with food, tents, bedding, and medical supplies.

Catholic Relief Services has landed personnel on the ground, and is working with local organization Caritas Nepal to help 10,000 families with emergency shelter, blankets, and water treatment from nearby Bihar, India, to expedite delivery. An additional 3,000 tarpaulins will be be flown in from Dubai, according to the CRS website.

It's important, says Johnson, to source materials from local vendors because they will get to those who need them faster than filling a shipping container with aid goods and sending it from overseas. His team at CHOICE will wait to send ground teams to Nepal, he says, until things have stabilized. "There's literally a shortage of food and water, we would be taking up limited resources," he says.

Once supply lines and sanitation are stabilized, he will send medical teams first, then move in aggressively with rebuilding teams. In the meantime, the CHOICE office has been flooded with calls from those who want to go to Kathmandu right away. "Those are good intentions, but they are not useful yet," says Johnson.

Instead, he says, the best thing to do, though it's "unromantic," is to donate cash. "This is the time to be generous in these first few days with financial support. Right now is the time to help with your pocketbook."
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