Nepal Update: our first hundred grand is there

Our first shipment of money to Nepal has arrived there. Your generous donations to our little bit of the relief effort will directly help a couple of hundred people struggling with the horrific aftermath of the earthquake.

Phone connections to Kathmandu are hit or miss. Apart from torn trunk cables, downed poles, zero electricity, no fuel for generators — even when the phone works, it requires someone to go into a house that feels like it could come down any time there is an aftershock. Cell phones have stopped working. Somehow, as bizarre as it is, only the landline is working in places. 

The aftershocks are getting better now. They’re less frequent and less severe. Imagine how much that alone must help. Some of them were so severe that entire new rounds of damage were inflicted on structures that had survived the first blasts.

Kathmandu (the only part of the country I’ve been in touch with) is in chaos. There is no end in sight to trying to dig survivors out of the rubble. The damage is much worse even than it appeared at first. It is affecting everyone. 

The first thing my friend Paki’s son Pankaj (the one who just finished his IT masters in the US) told me was that his best friend’s entire family was killed. Being stuck in makeshift tents outdoors, in heavy rain, no one is able to get a handle on anything. Imagine the fear and worry. No lights, not enough candles, no fuel for lanterns or the primus stoves in common use there.

No business - conceivably not a single one - has been unaffected. The most fortunate only had their merchandise dumped on the floor. Many are wiped out entirely.

The mission we’ve undertaken to try to get some money into the hands of a few people does point out the importance of the major relief organizations, which are better able to deliver huge loads of basic supplies. But, they don’t deliver cash, and in my experience, anyone who has some cash in their pocket when things are rough can address basic needs the most efficiently. We can try, anyway.

The main problem now is that though the money has been sent, and though Western Union (which my friends said was as good a way as any and which offered a 50 percent discount, after three calls) has said it is there - well, is it really? The cash offices are going to be as damaged as anywhere else. Cash supplies from banks are interrupted. Getting away from the house to go pick the money up is still risky. So that doesn’t mean the money will be hitting the streets instantly.

It will, though, as soon as possible.

Thank you all again, and please keep sharing and asking anyone you know who might be able to donate. 

I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am, and how moved everyone on the other end is for our show of support and for the hope that providing even a little bit of help spreads.

Once again, every time the GoFundMe reaches a multiple of $1130, the next 100,000 rupees can go to Nepal. Sending less doesn’t make sense, because it will be a big job to go get the money, and that’s not so much money as to stress any office. When they get money, that’s an amount they’ll be able to handle.

Let’s keep it going.

Here’s the link to the GoFundMe site.