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After Earthquake, Nepal Focuses on Rebuilding

Historical Monuments after the earthquake at Kathmandu Durbar Square. Image by Ajaya Manandhar. Copyright Demotix (25/4/2015)

Historical Monuments after the earthquake at Kathmandu Durbar Square. Image by Ajaya Manandhar. Copyright Demotix (25/4/2015)

The earthquake that shook Nepal on April 25 claimed more than 8,000 lives and injured twice as many people. Around 8 million people have been affected with at least 2 million displaced. 1.4 million are in need of food assistance.

Dozens more were killed when a second temblor rocked the country a little over two weeks later.

While Nepal is still struggling to grasp the quake's impact, people on the ground are trying to broaden the media's focus beyond stories of loss.

Neighbouring India coverage of relief efforts has been a major source of conversation on the web.

“It was an Armageddon,” writes Global Voices Sanjib Chaudhary of his experience in the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25. “But our never-dying spirit hasn’t subsided. We will soon bounce back.”

Slowly things are coming back to normal after the devastating earthquake of Saturday but still thousands of people taking shelter at open spaces due to the fear of aftershocks. Image by Ajaya Manandhar. Copyright Demotix (27/4/2015)

Slowly things are coming back to normal after the devastating earthquake of Saturday but still thousands of people taking shelter at open spaces due to the fear of aftershocks. Image by Ajaya Manandhar. Copyright Demotix (27/4/2015)

With damages in the billions, the earthquake has also devastated world-renowned monuments—many of them World Heritage Sites. UNESCO chief Irina Bokova told the Associated Press that it was “heartbreaking” to see the destruction of Nepal’s distinctive blend of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Read more: Stark Photos Show Nepal’s Heritage Sites Before and After the Quake

Global Voices contributor Narayan Adhikari lives in the UK, but was born in Nuwakot district, about 100 km northwest of Kathmandu. Nuwakot district is very close to the earthquake's epicentre.

Saturday's massive earthquake annihilated my entire village, including my home. Nature has rendered me homeless.

I lost four relatives and more than a dozen other family members and neighbours are seriously injured. There is no government presence in Thaprek, and no rescue team has arrived since the events on Saturday. Villagers are facing a horrific situation. Injured people are awaiting for treatment. Children and elderly people are suffering as a result of the cold and rain. There is no water or food.

Read more: #NepalQuake: A Tale of Personal and National Tragedy

In a typical example of technology leapfrogging, information sharing is happening due to the few people in Kathmandu mostly who still have access to the major global social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and the people outside of Nepal – Nepali overseas communities, experts in disaster responses and social media strategies, but also many Nepal global friends (former tourists, pilgrims) who are building data collection to provide key support to people back in Nepal and are calling for action.

In the midst of this crisis, people are using tools like Google Person Finder and Facebook Safety Check to find loved ones. Google Person Finder launched in 2010 in response to the earthquake in Haiti and helps people find each other in the aftermath of a disaster, by downloading or uploading data from the site.

How you can help

  • #WeHelpNepal: A network supporting locally-led, peer-to-peer Nepal Earthquake relief efforts. The organization has raised more than $170,000 since April 25. A registered US non-profit, We Help Nepal, says it has no overhead. It is a task force of artists, business owners, doctors, teachers and development workers who have lived or are currently living in Nepal. They assure all donations will support immediate earthquake relief and rebuilding efforts rooted in a philosophy of relief to self-reliance, disaster to sustainable development. Read the latest updates on the people and communities they are helping here. You can start raising donations for specific projects or to help families on the site too. This page is gathering donations to distribute 20,000 radio receivers in an area known as Barpak, where most homes have been completely destroyed, thousands of families are living in make-shift shelters in an information blackout.
  • Relief for Nepal Earthquake Victims: This group of independent volunteers was mobilized by photo.circle, a platform for Nepali photographers, to procure basic essentials in Kathmandu – plastic tarp is on the top of the list- and to distribute it to various locations in the periphery of the valley. The group assures that 100% of the donations will go to relief. All administrative costs are covered, you can follow how your funds are being used through their Facebook page, where they are sharing pictures and their website, where they list resources that they are procuring.

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