It’s been heartbreaking to see the tragedy taking place in Nepal as a result of a massive 7.8 earthquake and subsequent huge aftershocks that rocked this Himalayan nation over the weekend. I’ve never been to Nepal and there is a good chance that I may never see it but I feel a small connection to this distant nation through my work, which hung in the American Embassy in Kathmandu for several years. Plus, I have met a number of folks who have been there and they always speak of their experiences there in glowing terms.
It’s hard to even imagine the destruction caused when a chunk of the planet about 35 miles wide and 75 miles long is suddenly shifted 10 feet. But the images coming from Kathmandu fill in the blanks– tremendous physical damage, horrible injuries and mounting loss of lives– over 3700 as of this morning and sure to keep rising. Rescue efforts continue but it is a hard slog given the lack of resources and the remoteness and relative inaccessibility of Nepal.
There were also cultural tragedies, including the total destruction of the Maju Deval Temple in Kathmandu. It was built in 1690 and had survived beautifully through the previous 325 years until the quake reduced it to a pile of rubble as seen in the photo above. On Mt. Everest, there is still no true accounting of the total number of climbers and guides lost when the quake caused massive avalanches in the high peaks.
It can be frustrating, watching a tragedy such as this from such a long distance. We want to help but there seems to be so little that we can do from half a world away. But there are reputable charities that are geared up just to help in situations such as these, having resources ready to go in a very short time and their people on the ground in the devastated areas within hours.
And they need your help in order to help others.
There is a local Nepalese charity called the Soarway Foundation, that was created in part by the honorable Scott DeLisi, our former ambassador to Nepal and a man who I have had the honor of corresponding with over the past several years. They have an infrastructure in place in that nation and any money donated will have an immediate impact on the earthquake’s victims.
Two other of my personal favorites are Oxfam and Americares, both of which take very little from your donations for things like administration and fundraising. Both are very quick to action also.. And of course, there is the Red Cross, although most donations go into a general fund to help around the world.
So give if you can to this nation that needs a helping hand at this time.