With nearly 84% of Puerto Rico still without power after Hurricane Maria, Duracell has arrived on the island today and will distribute $1 million of batteries as well as charging mobile devices and internet access through its Power Forward initiative. When natural disasters occur Duracell helps to reconnect communities. Puerto Rico will be its largest distribution effort since it launched in 2011.
PowerForward will charge mobile devices, radios, and flashlights, and provide power for critical medical devices like dialysis machines, hearing aids and ventilators. Duracell is working with the Red Cross to assess areas where there is the most need.
Duracell will update itsTwitter and Facebookaccounts with the next truck location as it navigates the island.
In order to help when disaster strikes, we need the government, NGOs, and the private sector to help as much as possible. For Puerto Rico, it seems they may have to rely on NGOs and the private sector more than they expected.
If you have friends and family in Puerto Rico, please let them know to check the Duracell social accounts for location information.
The video and photos coming out of Houston and surrounding areas really make your heart sink. It’s unimaginable what hundreds of thousands of people are going through due to the rains and flooding from Hurricane Harvey. The area stands to face weeks, months, and likely years to fully rebuild. Now, chemical plants are blowing up and people and their pets are still being rescued from homes and dropped off in temporary shelters with little knowledge of how their home has fared or what they will be able to salvage.
It’s true that Americans really want to open up their wallets to help, but what are the best organizations to donate to? You can always donate to large national organizations that have massive scale-up relief capabilities like Save the Children. We know the phenomenal work they do with children and how they help them cope with natural disasters like deadly tornadoes and hurricanes like Katrina, Sandy, and the Louisiana floods last year.
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.
It’s been raining virtually nonstop since we arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday morning. There were downpours all day without any let up until the evening. I hope we get to see the sun on Tuesday. It’s the end of the monsoon season in Nepal, but I don’t think the weather quite wants to get rid of the rain yet.
Today was our very first site visit for this Nepal trip to see Coca-Cola’s rebuilding efforts after last year’s earthquake as well as their work with women in their global #5by20 program that will empower five million women by 2020 across Coca-Cola’s value chain.
Today, we focused on how Coca-Cola is helping local NGOs rebuild after the quake as well as how Coca-Cola employees joined as a team to push through the crisis they endured after two very sizeable earthquakes.
You can read about our visit to a village about an hour and a half away from Kathmandu and how a local NGO is using innovative ways to create sustainable communities.
Last year I remember exactly where I was when the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. I was on my way to Haiti to report on maternal health, and really good friends of mine from the International Reporting Project had been in Nepal for a very short time on a reporting trip when the quake hit. I remember tweeting them to see if everything was okay. Thankfully they were and wrote amazing, insightful articles from their harrowing experience on the ground. Even though I wasn’t in Nepal, knowing people who were and reported once the quake happened brought the crisis close to home.
The way in which countries respond to disasters varies. One thing is certain: governments cannot shoulder massive disaster relief alone. I learned this once I saw the coordinated one-year disaster relief in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Relief, I’ve learned, is always a combination of public and private partnerships that work in tandem to benefit citizens that have been hardest hit. Sometimes it is not easy and the coordination may be a bit slow-going, but the truth is private companies that have apositive, established footprint in countries with an excellent track record can benefit government and NGO partners with logistics support, private enterprise expertise, and most importantly finances.