The world of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is vast and growing if you live in Nepal. Some experts estimate there is a whopping 50,000 registered NGOs (PDF) in the country, a steep increase since an NGO registration change in 1992. With that change, groups of individuals joined together in droves to create organizations to fight the languishing poverty in Nepal, a country that has been classified by the United Nations as one of the world’s least developed countries since 1971. Experts also attribute the increase of Nepalese NGOs to the country’s small private enterprise sector. Most Nepalis believe the only way they can make money is through civil society where tens of millions of dollars flow through Nepal’s civil sector every year.
While many organizations follow the safe blueprint of how NGOs should operate, there are some that are devising innovative ways in which to help communities at their most basic level, especially after the earthquakes that rocked the landlocked country caused nearly 9,000 fatalities nationwide last year. The earthquakes shocked the country and exposed immense disaster relief vulnerabilities of the government as well as the throngs of NGOs that were not prepared to handle a major natural disaster.
Lead photo: The National Forum of Bangui during the report on ‘Justice and Reconciliation’ in the capital of the Central African Republic on 9 May 2015.
The history of the Central African Republic (CAR) has been riddled with conflict since it was first established in 1960, but the past few years have been particularly upsetting. In December of 2012, fighting between the Seleka and Anti-Balaka groups began causing catastrophe. Towns were burned to the ground. Men were either recruited to fight or were killed. Women were raped, taken as slaves, or slaughtered with their children.
To complicate matters, there truly was never a good or bad side to begin with. The CAR was a poor country at the start and as seen in every major conflict, upheaval occurred when people felt they weren’t treated fairly. Unfortunately, a few bad people started propagating hate that sparked killing and pillaging. Now there is no way to ‘take back’ what has been done. The scale of the situation has spread and over a million lives have been affected in both the CAR and surrounding countries.
While there has been some international response and the storm has seemingly calmed, rebel groups are continuing to fight for power. Some areas are still controlled by armed militias leaving many who need humanitarian assistance unreachable. More than 6,000 lives have been lost since 2012 and the number continues to rise due to violence and humanitarian crises. As long as these groups continue to terrorize the countryside, innocent people will suffer.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Did you know that Katrina led to 5,000 reported missing children and it took seven months to connect the last child with her parents?
This summer, during the height of the hurricane season Save the Children wants parents and their children to be prepared should disaster strike again. Save the Children is imploring parents to make sure their children have an emergency contact card with not only information for local family, but also family who live out of town. This is critically important because during disasters local networks and telephones lines are usually down. Being able to call family who are not affected by a storm is important to connect children back to families.
A 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal today roughly two weeks after the last earthquake shook the impoverished nation that took the lives of 8,000 people.
Aid workers and NGOs are already in Nepal providing assistance and supplies are in the pipeline and have reached Kathmandu for distribution to remote areas. In sharp contrast to last month’s earthquake at least 48 people have been confirmed dead and more than 1,000 injured by the quake as opposed to an immediate count of thousands during the last disaster. The epicenter of today’s earthquake occurred closer to the Chinese border. Reports said aftershocks could be felt as far away as India where 17 people have died.
Direct Relief staff in Nepal were assembling tents to augment a birthing clinic that was damaged in last month’s tragic earthquake when the second earthquake hit today. They reported that it visibly shook the mountains around them and brought down nearby buildings. Within the hour, Direct Relief reports people with injuries filled the clinic and two women went into premature labor. One of the women was experiencing serious complications, so staff raced through traffic to a referral hospital on the other side of town where she could receive more advanced care. Continue reading Aid Workers Continue Assistance After Second Nepal Earthquake→