Nepal Lifeline: Shelter. Weddings go on.

Nepal Lifeline: Shelter

“Nepal urgently needs around one million tents to provide shelter to the affected people as more than 300,000 buildings have collapsed during the earthquake,” claims Deputy Prime Minister Prakash Man Singh as reported in Business Standard.

If there was a quick count of how many tents have already been deployed and how many are on the tarmac of the airport, it would provide a good estimate for how many more tents, other Countries or International Aid agencies need to send. We believe this audit could cause delays whilst the monsoon season is approaching, so a better approach would be to getting the tents out to those in need as fast as possible and then worrying about the numbers/audit later on.

With community spirit, innovation and quick thinking, locals are assembling tents with the material they currently have before the monsoon season as written in the New York Times.

As the news of the Earthquake in Nepal starts to fade from the focus of the media (especially in Britain, due to the Elections and the news of the birth of the princess), we shall remember that tents are only for the short term and medium to long term reconstruction will be required for the 300,000 + buildings which have either been destroyed or damaged.

Higher standard, Earthquake resistant building, which are quick to build should be a topic the Nepalese government and the construction industry should focus on. Architects from Nepal and the World will hopefully put forward their designs to help the reconstruction of a country which has seen heavily destructed.

For buildings which have minor damage or have been weakened, they should be strengthened/retrofitted to improve the Earthquake resistance in case of future earthquakes. An article in the Indian Express in regards to retrofitting can be found.

Reconstruction and strengthening of old buildings will take time, it wont be a few months but more likely a few years, so we hope the media focusses on the reconstruction of Nepal every few weeks/ once a month to keep the public awareness on the progress and provide revised cost on the regeneration as that can help on how much more donations are necessary.

Weddings go on

5 days after the Earthquake on 25th April, on 30th April a Nepalese couple were wed.
For Nepalese weddings, an Astrologer chooses a good date to get married and people plan weddings around that date. One of the couples grandfather was not doing well so the wedding went ahead. This is due to the fact there is a custom when a family member dies, weddings are postponed for a year to mourn that family member.
To some it may seem strange to have a wedding after a major natural disaster but we think it shows the strength of the Nepalese to get on even during the worst of times.

Wedding

Wedding taking place in Nepal after the Earthquake

Nepal Lifeline: Health, Airport Customs Holding up Aid Relief?

Lifeline: Health

Nepal’s Rural Poor, Hardest Hit By Earthquake, Now Face Massive Health Threat reported the Huffington Post on 29th April. The reports of a Health issues are not found to be in focus today which either shows the issues are being dealt with or a full assessment of the situation is yet to be made to the public or media.

On the other hand WHO (World Health Organisation) have reported 17 of the 21 Hospitals in the 21 District were in operation and sufficient health personnel were available to treat patients. The draw back is the current shortage in supplies.

Nepal has not been renowned for providing the best health care system, and were in 2010 ranked 139th in terms of life expectancy, so with the extra help from International Aid and volunteers, the medical teams seem to be working diligently and doing a good job.

Airport Customs Holding up Aid Relief?

The BBC have reported US aid planes are arriving in Kathmandu to help deliver aid to remote areas. In the same article the United Nations have said the problem of customs controls holding up aid deliveries from the airport was “diminishing”, which could be a great sign and can reflect the governments desire to change and improve with input from the aid agencies, which will be a key in the next months and few years to come when Nepal are redeveloping their country.

What is the PM’s Disaster Relief Fund and What it is Not?

There have been questions about Nepal Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund, we believe this is explained in a blog by Siromani Dhungana. There are questions about how the government could abuse the donations and the transparency of it but hopefully with the focus from the International Media this will not be the case. From PM Relief website we can see the contributions and the allocated funds but there isn’t a breakdown in the figures therefore at the moment there is not yet a clear transparency on what the funds have been allocated, we hope this will change in the near future.

For extra reading there is an inspirational reading by the Asia Director for IsraAID from 30th April titled “In Nepal: Hero of the day“.

Certainly things are not perfect but we believe things will slowly improve after people learn from their mistakes and help each other.
For those of you who are worried about where your donations are going to go, it maybe a good idea to wait for things to calm down in 3 months time and donate. Nepal will need people to donate but if your put off by all the media news then waiting and keeping the money in an account with some interest rates, then offering it at a later date is a good idea (certainly better than not donating at all because you are worried about the corruption 🙂 ).

Corruption in Nepal?

Could Donations to Nepal go into the hands of the wrong people?

Nepal Aid Donors may halt fundraising amid fears Government will seize donations reports the Telegraph. Natalia from Iam Adventures Blog had contacted this issue this morning from an article in Direction Kathmandu. What the Government wants is for all the donations to go through the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund. This causes fear of a slow down in the process of helping the public most in need of the aid and if there is corruption, it could cause a black hole in the donations.

If the government do go ahead with this plan and are caught in a corruption scandal, could it quicken the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) and if circumstances have it could the Government of Nepal be the first to go on trial?

An article by Judge Mark Wolf on creating an International Anti-Corruption Court can be found in the Washington Post. If there is an International Criminal Court, what are the bottle necks of an Anti-Corruption Court to be formed?

If the process of Aid and Donations are delayed it affects the recovery of Nepal, especially before the dreaded monsoon season. We know from the World Bank the strength of development in Nepal has come from at the community level. The question is why have the government decided to create more work for themselves, a big headache for the International Aid Agencies and a slow down to aid the people who are in most in need?
Its a little weird after Nepal’s elderly Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala, had apparently admitted his government is overwhelmed and needs international aid as written in The Australian, is there someone else in the background advising on the policies?

The next International Anti-Corruption Convention is in Malaysia* from 2nd to 4th September. If the Nepalese Government does not help to improve the process by then, could the Countries providing aid and Aid Agencies raise the issue in the convention? What could the outcome be?

Could the International Media attention on the political instability issues with the current Government in Nepal, help to improve the Government to become more fair and help to push a New Constitution for the Nepalese public? This isn’t to say some people in the Government are not doing a good job, but the current news seems to simply imply they have made bad decisions.

We will see how things start to change with the disaster recovery, as people can learn from their mistakes. One thing, we are worried about is a black market which could be formed due to the government push on the donations going through the government accounts.

On the other hand the Associate Press has reported Nepal’s government is giving out 100,000 rupees ($1,000) to families of each of those killed in Saturday’s earthquake, and another 40,000 rupees ($400) for funeral costs, according to the state-run Radio Nepal. We wonder what the process is of obtaining the fund and when it will be available.

*No comments in regards to 1MDB and Najib Razak*
*ICC (International Criminal Court) is different to ICJ (International Court of Justice) the judicial branch of the UN*
*IACC would most likely be Intergovernmental and complement the national judicial system. The bottle neck could be the poor law and order of Nepal as reported in the World Bank. It could be difficult to complement a poor national judicial system*

Nepal Lifeline: Food. How Does Natural Disaster Affect the Currency?

Lifeline: Food

World Food Programme plans to provide food for 1.4 million people in urgent need of assistance over the next three months at a cost of US$116.5 million as reported on their site.

Eight million dollars is urgently needed to help disaster-struck Nepalese farmers rapidly recover lost agricultural inputs and resume preparations for the imminent rice sowing season, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has written.

Delivery of food is a major lifeline for the people of Nepal to survive in the short run, and sustainability of agriculture/farming will help the people to survive in the long run.

For those farmers who have lost their livestocks, we wonder how the livestocks will be delivered to them as logistics has been an issue and from which country the animals could come from (most likely neighbours India).

Rice and channa daal have been distributed near New Road by the International Red Cross as seen below in the pictures (from two days ago). We have heard shops and restaurants have started to open in the capital, Kathmandu.

Quick Information in regards to Nepalese Diets:
Dal Bhat Tarkari (Dal – Lentils, Bhat – Rice/Grains, Tarkari – Vegetable Curry) is a popular dish served in the country.
Within each region due to the difference in ethnicity foods are different.
Foods are Asian themes with Tibetan, Indian, Thai origins.

How Does Natural Disaster Affect Currency?

The Econintersect has an interesting article in regards to how Natural Disasters affect the Currency. For the Nepalese Rupee, its currently pegged against the Indian Rupee so a similar scenario to the yen after the Tohoku Earthquake is probably not expected.

How Does Aid Agencies Convert their donations into Local Currency?

Charity Finance Group have an interesting article from Ebury about Best Foreign Exchange practice for Charities and NGO. If anyone has more information I would be interested in getting the information. Are the spread provided by the big FX traders like Citi and Deutsche better for charities and NGOs, do the World Bank or IMF have deposits in different currencies which can be used when there is a natural disaster?

For those whose are interested in extra reading:

Map of reported Nepal Earthquake Death.

Open Letter to The Media, regarding the Nepal Earthquake.

How hundreds of volunteer mappers are helping to keep Nepal earthquake aid from getting lost by Scroll.in.

Nepal Earthquake where to get information?

The biggest issue when a Natural Disaster occurs is there is panic and people stop communicating with each other or false rumours appear from nowhere and there is a breakdown in the efficiency.

A Nepalese company, Sparrowsms has created a site for people to share information on what is happening on the ground. It has sections such as what aid is needed, what help is being offered with a location flag layered on top of google maps for people to see what is happening/reported in the specific region. From my knowledge a few of the organisations are using this tool to make sure issues are communicated so things move more efficiently.
The improvement we see which could be made to the tool is that there isn’t a section for organisation. This means it is difficult to link reports on which organisation is providing what aid at a specific time and to search for what a particular organisation has done/is currently working on.
http://help.sparrowsms.com/

If this information is outdated or there are other tools which organisations are using please contact us.

NB If you are a reader and not volunteering, we would appreciate it if you do not keep pinging the site as you will be taking the bandwidth of the site, and slowing the progress of recovery. We have enclosed a screenshot of the site for the readers, Thank you 🙂

Sparrowsms

From what we know:

Lokesh and Aditya Todi are fund raising on Indiegogo. Lokesh a MBA grad from Yale is on the ground in Nepal, Aditya his brother a Stanford Grad is in Boston helping, they are covered in a CNN Article.

Representing the surfing community Waves for Water are taking “400 clean-­water filtration systems to Nepal which can provide up to 40,000 quake victims with access to clean water, almost immediately”.

We are currently in contact with Natalia from Iam Adventures Blog introduced by a mutual friend. She been on the ground has good contacts with who is looking for help.

Reliefweb which is the largest humanitarian information portal in the world has lots of information in regards to what is currently happening in Nepal. The link we have put in has the Urban Research and Rescue (USAR) snapshot on 29th April 2015.

Isra Aid director was helping out in Gangabu, and now Sindupalchowk.

There have been reports some aid has been forced back from areas such as Sindhupalchowk because people do not have permissions to help in the area (from the Ministry of Home Affair). If this is true there has been a break down in communication and there is room for improvement in efficiency.

One thing we are very worried about is the approach of the Monsoon season (June – August) and the landslides it could cause.

Nepal Lifeline? Water, Fundraising for Nepal

News for Today:

After Quake, Nepal faces Water and Health Crisis reports Newsweek.
Water is one of the most important thing needed to survive for life. The water source in Kathmandu has not been damaged but the infrastructure/pipping to carry the supply has been damaged. This has led the locals to rely on tankers of water led by the army and most likely brought in from their neighbours in India.

Insight from a Nepalese friend:
Some lucky houses in Kathmandu have wells and with the use of machinery water can be pulled up from the well to a water tank. This water is used in the bathrooms. The water from the wells are usually a bit yellowish and are not used for drinking or cooking.

The water which the government provides through the pipping and taps is collected in a different tank, this is usually boiled and filtered prior to drinking or cooking purposes.

Making sure water is supplied to the survivors should be the highest priority and we hope aid agencies are looking for alternatives to making sure water can be supplied from the water source.

Overseas Aid:

Japan has decided to provide 800 mio USD in emergency fund to Nepal as written by the Embassy of Nepal in the UK.

Fundraising by Companies:

Markit in Singapore are setting up a fund for donations to Nepal.

BNP Paribas worldwide are raising funds via the Rescue and Recover fund which will match every employee’s contribution.

Helping Nepal Embassy in the UK:

Update as of 30th April:
They weren’t the best to talk to in letting us know what they needed in terms of volunteers and organising fundraisers. They did take our number and told us they could call back if they needed volunteers. Will wait and see on wether they call back or not.

29th April
In the morning we called the Nepal Embassy in the UK Disaster Relief inquiry/donation helpline on 020 7043 7497 and asked them if there were any fundraisers in the pipeline to raise donations. We were told at this present moment in time they were not organising one.
Asked them about volunteers and they sounded like they were looking for more volunteers to help the team out during the week.
We will be calling them tomorrow to confirm: 1) in regards to organising a fundraiser and 2) the volunteering opportunity in the Disaster Relief team/ Embassy. If any of the readers are interested please call them direct to get more information.
On the other hand we will try and do our best to update the information after speaking to them tomorrow.

PS If anyone has spare stationary which are in decent condition, the person in the Disaster Relief team sounded like they needed supplies. After confirming with them on the 020 number, please could you send them over to the Embassy. Thank you

Nepal News, Lifeline: Electricity , Overseas aid

News for Today:

Nepal Death toll could rise to 10,000 reports the Huffington Post. Heavy rain is not helping with the rescue and recovery process.
IHS a US Consultancy group has predicted the reconstruction cost could be as high as $5bio exceeding 20% of GDP as reported in IBT. The reconstruction is where international aid will be required and we would be grateful if readers could donate a few bucks to charity, more the merrier.

Lifeline: Electricity

Reports from the ground have messaged saying electricity has been back for today.
Background in regards to power in Nepal. Due to the common nature of power shortages in Nepal, quite a few houses are equipped with solar panels which connect to an inverter battery. Once the battery is charged, it can distribute electricity, but some houses have big batteries meaning solar power is not enough to fully charge the battery and electricity is required. What this means is if electricity is not present it takes a long time for batteries to recharge. From my understanding the batteries and solar panels may not have a smart, charge/discharge system, so power can not be used whilst the battery is being charged. My business partner’s batteries lasted three days meaning they have been very lucky to get electricity back for now.

Help from overseas:

Rumours are that there could be a movement by the Voluntary Architects’ Network lead by Shigeru Ban to establishing a medical center using membrane materials in Nepal. Most likely a smaller scale project compared to the paper tube structure of a Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch after the quake in 2011 in New Zealand.

Nepal Day 3 News, Reports from the Ground

News for Today:

Nepal Government officials are appealing for more supplies of food, medicines, specialised rescue services and body bags, as Aid trickles in, whilst thousands of residents are leaving Kathmandu as reported in the Huffington Post.

India is leading a big effort to survivors with 187 tons of supplies (50 tons of water, 22 tons of food and 2 tons of medicine) being delivered on Sunday as reported in CNN.

Facebook have started a donation campaign for Nepal, matching every dollar which is donated to International Medical Corps until $2mio.

Reports from the ground:

My business partner’s mother got a call from a friend in Nuwakot district, Ghalle village. She was told the village had been destroyed, with no food, water, or aid, but the conversation lasted only for a brief moment because the line was cut. She was unable get hold of her friend when she tried on calling back.

In some shops food prices have tripled or quadrupled.

Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kathmandu is getting bad publicity from the locals as they have a big garden but did not open the space to the public to use. In times of emergency it would be really good to hear people helping each other out. Hopefully things will change tomorrow or the information is outdated.

Photos around Kathmandu by THT & HEV

 

Dharara Tower with inscription of 1991, after the earthquake in 1990BS.

Dharara Tower with inscription of 1991, after the earthquake in 1990BS.

I will be double checking on the information written above with my business partner tomorrow. Will ask for more information from the ground on the situation.

Ideas for Nepal

Ideas to help the survivors of the Earthquake in Nepal.

1. Poncho as used by a lot of runners prior to a Marathon race.

Poncho to keep rain off and keep warm

Poncho to keep rain off and keep warm

 

2. Sleeping bag using minimum amount of material which could be available in Nepal.

From what is seen from the pictures on the media, survival kits have yet to be given out to the locals, so decided to do a quick sketch of ideas.

Information on Shelter and Warmth Survival Kit on Wikipedia.

 

Nepal Day 2 After The Earthquake

News for Today:

Nepal Earthquake. Tent cities are springing up for the displaced according to the BBC, with the aftershocks and the failing infrastructure, International Aid is going to be very much in need. It would be good for the International Aid Agencies to tell the media on the current status with a list of items which the people who have been affected are in need of, the severity of the demand of those items and how aid agencies have allocated their focus on the problems at hand.

Guessing, Aid Agencies would divide the demand into Water, Food, Shelter, Medical Supplies, Blankets/Sleeping bags, Clothes, Rescue Equipment/team. If they could have a pie chart or a bar chart of whats being focussed it would be helpful.

From my understanding getting shelter at the moment is hard and I hope companies such as Shelter Systems can step in to help the people of Nepal. An architect friend of mine has designed a primary design of an Earthquake Shelter (eg as below) after we discussed about the need for shelters in Nepal, the design and explanation can be found on Nepal Shelters on his site

Nepal Shelter

Nepal Shelter Design

I have donated to Oxfam but I don’t know where the money donated will be focussed onto. Hope its water and food.

The likeliness of landslides have gone up due to the earthquake and Earthquake without Frontiers, who recently had a meeting in Kathmandu, have a page on the subject with models on which locations are high risk.

The hotel as of last night had one guest who was missing whilst on a trek with a guide. Due to the telecommunication systems being down we were unable to to reach them. Gratefully and luckily we were able to find him and the guide later on in the day.

At the moment Im in discussion with my business partner to get more information from locals in Nepal. Im feeling media coverage is looking more at it from an International point of view rather than a local perspective.