At least 3,600 are dead — and the death toll is expected to rise — after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday. Avalanches and building collapses have threatened the life and safety of Nepali throughout the country, and damage to local transportation infrastructure have significantly complicated access for relief workers.
Nonetheless, multiple aid and relief organizations are now working around the clock in Nepal in aid, recovery and reconstruction efforts following the destruction caused by the earthquake and its aftershocks.
After the jump, here is a list of reputable relief agencies that could use your help.
Hurricane Sandy has given Chinatown a Xanax. The first thing we noticed after coming over the Manhattan Bridge is how bucolic everything seemed. Driving down East Broadway, we found neither the Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic ghost town we’d expected, nor the vibrant, tumultuous, caffeinated pre-Sandy Chinatown of grandmas hawking faux-Louis Vuitton handbags and restaurant deliverymen revving up their electric motorbikes. This was the Thursday after Sandy hit on Monday night. People calmly strolled down the street. It was one of those whatever New York days in fall, when it’s sunny and chilly at the same time. Life was going on, a wobbly new equilibrium. We turned the corner and one of us yelped out, drolly, “Commerce is occurring!” A storeowner, we noticed, had attracted a small crowd of shoppers. We drove closer and saw that it was—that most traditional hoarder of nonperishable goods—a dry foods vendor, selling dehydrated squid, scallops, and mushrooms. We started to feel bad for not bringing more cash.
What we did bring was several gallons of bottled water. We unloaded them at a Hurricane Sandy relief event held by CAAAV, a longtime Chinatown community organizing group, outside their low-ceilinged headquarters at 46 Hester Street, which was currently lit only by a portable light hanging on a hook. This was CAAAV’s second day distributing water, fliers, food, and electricity to Chinatown residents.
Esther [Wang, director of CAAAV’s Chinatown Tenants Project] said, “These are small businesses and low-income immigrants living from paycheck-to-paycheck. Not being able to open your business for a week is devastating. They might not be able to pay their rent. Their landlord might evict them.” Esther was worried this kind of a systematic breakdown in the local Chinatown economy could lead to a fundamental change in the make-up of the neighborhood—just like after 9/11, when many Chinatown residents moved away after being put out of business for just one week.
In the two weeks after September 11, 2001, the neighborhood was cordoned off, with a major thoroughfare blockaded at Park Row in southern Chinatown—a blockade that remains today. As a result, almost three-fourths of Chinatown workers (24,500 out of 33,658) lost their jobs, according to an Asian American Federation Report, with the garment factories losing the entirety of their business volume. Sandy had left behind a weeklong blackout, Esther was telling me, but its economic effects could reshape the neighborhood for a generation. She didn’t want the post-Sandy relief monies to go to the same places they did after 9/11: towards development projects, like luxury hotels.