Deployment to Nepal: Earthquake Aid
Dear Friends, Family and Prospective Supporters,
"Yesterday, I saw big fear in the eyes of the people... people are missing and we are going to rescue them.... We are all outside the home since yesterday afternoon. The government told everyone to stay outside. Do you have any supply for needy people? Water, food are very much need." G. Kathmandu, Nepal
"My mom is staying at a friend's house. My dad is staying in a tent outside... the building is slowly collapsing. Please pray there is no rain." S. Tokyo, Japan
Above are two quotes from friends affected by the Saturday, April 25th quake near the capitol city of Nepal; the country's largest and most devastating quake in 80 years. They provide a microcosmic snapshot into the needs and scale of the situation on the ground right now.
I am deploying as a volunteer crisis and disaster responder to the 7.8 earthquake in Nepal. I work with CRI (Crisis Response International, a faith based humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization.) A certified CRI responder since August 2011, I've been involved with international aid and disaster relief work since Japan's March 11, 2011 triple disaster. I'm also the Founder & Director of The Altar IHOP, Tokyo .
Originally from Alaska, USA and in Tokyo, Japan since 1999, I have extensive experience living and traveling around Asia— my humanitarian aid work is focused on the region. With CRI, I was in-country liason for the Japan relief efforts for both the 2011 quake and Typhoon Roke. I responded in 2013 to Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines by providing administrative assistance and crisis & trauma counseling during medical missions along with procurement and distribution of food supplies. In 2014, I responded to the ISIS cris in Iraq by helping run and operate medical & first aid clinics and distribute food aid and supplies to displaced Iraqi and Syrian refugees. The work in Nepal will be no different.
I need to raise a substantial sum in order to fund the cost of this urgent relief mission to Nepal. Putting my boots on the ground is an opportunity to bring aid and relief to the Nepalese people.
Here are 6 practical ways you can join relief efforts:
1. Give financially. No contribution is too small. Every dollar (or yen) counts and is absolutely necessary.
2. Tell your friends, family and associates that you just contributed towards relief efforts in Nepal by helping send an experienced aid worker to the country.
3. Encourage your friends, family and associates to do the same.
4. Learn about Nepal; the country and the people. Choose to make this disaster personal. Follow the news and stay informed. Learn about what crisis & disaster responders and humanitarian aid workers do on deployment.
5. Reject apathy and disassociation. Don't tell yourself, "I'm not there, I can't do anything about it." Those who stay behind with the supplies are just as valuable as the ones who go out in the field. You ARE doing something by sending people like me.
6. Stay in the loop by checking my blog and following me on social media (links available on my blog.)
1. Here's an article I wrote that was recently published by Matador Networks- the umbrella organization for my online media school. Have a read! I'd love your feedback. http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/10-things-need-volunteering-disaster-relief-nepal/
2. The focus of operations are shifting from immediate "first response " needs (water purification, medical, food, temporary shelter) to more long term needs which include constructing sturdier shelters for people- especially in the villages and more remote areas. Word came in recently that CRI HQ is taking a week or so off from sending teams out so they can reassess needs on the field and refocus accordingly.
As it stands right now, "standby" is still the go to word but, I'm still in the line up for going over. This is a recovery process for the country that will require months, if not years of laboring and collective assistance to set things in right order again.
In the mean time, I'm waiting for the "green light" as actively as possible by continuing to learn Nepali, condition & train for the harsh landscape and brush up on my disaster response knowledge/skills...
THANK YOU as always, for the support as I prepare to go over and help Nepal.
Until the next update,
1. We're at 1,500$ USD right now! Very exciting stuff. THANK YOU again to everyone who has contributed and who is sharing the link on their FB and on Twitter. There are about 200 shares so far. Word's getting out and that's super encouraging!
2. The current ground team (May 13th group) is headed back to the remote areas after a brief delay. The road was rendered impassible after the second major quake a few days ago near the base of Mt Everest.
3. Over the last few weeks, I've been learning Nepali and doing a massive amount of conditioning for the trip. Hauling supplies in to remote villages by foot isn't going to be an easy task by any means and I've spent a good 20+ hours bike riding "uphill both ways." Talk about a lower body and aerobic workout! I also did a bit of climbing today- first time in over 10 years- at this incredible indoor wall climbing gym I found not far from my place on the outskirts of Tokyo. Can't think of a better way to get this body in shape for two weeks on the field in the hills and valleys of Nepal. In the next few days, I'll be loading up my backpack and hitting "the stairs." (Heaven help me on this one!)
4. I'm still on stand by. Again, as things are now, there are still teams scheduled to go out the 18th (from Cyprus) the 25th & June 2nd (from the US) Am hoping to get on the team for the 25th but, well see. Will let you all know as soon as I have news.
Thanks again and I'll post more soon!
1. I am on standby. Was almost on a plane today and some last minute essential details fell through. Still pressing forward with the GoFundMe campaign and expect to join a team soon.
2. There was just another quake near the base of Mt. Everest on the eastern side of Nepal. Early reports put it at a 7.4 and was felt as far south as New Delhi, India. Some search and rescue teams have been dispatched to the epicenter and the situation is quite fluid. In short, Nepal is being put through the wringer on this one and they really do need all the help they can get.
3. Here's a video link from CRI. It's a few days old but a quality visual for some of the work they are doing on the ground.