Aid workers in Nepal deserve to be commended for being on the front lines of the country's worst earthquake disaster in 80 years. For most people though, getting on a plane to Nepal is less of an option. But don't worry: there are plenty of ways you can volunteer and help from home. Authorities said Monday that at least 3,617 people have been confirmed dead from Saturday's earthquake, including 1,302 in the Kathmandu Valley, and another 6,515 were injured across the country. The death toll is expected to increase as rescue efforts expand into the remote areas of the mountainside. With those kinds of staggering numbers, you ask, can I volunteer for the Nepal earthquake? The answer is yes, and here's how.
Organizations such as UNICEF, Red Cross, and the UN World Food Programme accept volunteers year-round to staff offices, hold fundraisers, and organize events. Those with medical backgrounds can volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, which on Sunday sent eight teams to Nepal. But you can also help using just your computer from home.
With Humanity Road, volunteers produce detailed situation reports that help relief groups effectively deploy their resources. The site crowdsources information from online and social media outlets to list location coordinates of communities in need, indicate whether food, water, and power are accessible, and request specific medical services for the injured.
The Standby Task Force uses digital volunteers to help map reports of damage and requests for assistance that are made online. The group also collects resources to help on-the-ground responders, such as maps, agencies, and contact information. President Jus Mackinnon said in a statement than more than 1,400 people across the world are trained to respond when a crisis occurs.
We can really make a difference on the ground by giving relief and rescue organisations a good idea of which areas are affected in what way. This helps them to target their efforts more effectively and get help to the people who need it as quickly as possible.
And if you don't have the time to volunteer, donations are still incredibly helpful in times of crisis. Reconstruction costs in Nepal could be more than $5 billion, the Associated Press reported, citing a consultancy service. That would be roughly 20 percent of Nepal's GDP. The average worker in Nepal makes less than $750 a year, according to World Bank figures. As more news emerges of the earthquake's impact on Nepal and its people, any kind of contributions will be needed and welcomed.