The devastating earthquake in Nepal has killed more than 2,400 people and injured about 5,900, residents so far (as reported in the NY Times on Sunday). Please donate to help Nepal’s Earthquake Victims now.
On Saturday morning, I got a news alert on my mobile phone that there had been a devastating 7.9 earthquake in Nepal. I immediately looked on Facebook to check on my colleague, Robert Rosenthal from VolunteerMatch to see if he was okay. Robert has been working the last year or so from Nepal. He has posted that he was not in Nepal at the moment, but was worried about friends there.
The next thing I noticed in my Facebook feed was a post from Robert Scoble mentioning a new Facebook feature that lets you check on friends in a disaster. I pinged Wendy Harmon from the Red Cross and she mentioned that Facebook had been testing this feature and the Red Cross was working with them through Operation Dragon Fire to ensure the data is appropriately shared with relief operations and safety officials. Robert noted on a comment in the Facebook thread, that since his hometown was listed as Kathmandu, it was interesting to get notified by the system and be asked. “Unfortunately that initial message was soon buried by others. It took me a day to realize I had missed the chance to report that I was safe. The UI would have been better if this had worked as an interstitial on start up each time I opened up the app. It was however great to be able to report that some of my friends who had not yet checked in were safe.”
Next of course, my attention went to the question of “Where to donate?” I received several emails from charities that I already support that do work in the area. I donated to Save the Children. On Facebook, I noticed a list of vetted charities shared by another trusted colleague who works in the nonprofit sector, Peggy Duvette. I shared the article on my wall. This sparked a few other recommendations from friends about where to donate. Knowing that Robert Rosenthal had been working and living in Nepal, I was curious to see if he had any recommendations. He posted a link to this Global Giving Fund, a giving network of charities in Nepal, vetted for impact. In the thread was a comment from Nancy Schwartz suggesting that we all share this wide and far. So, I shared it on my wall tagging friends, many of whom re-shared the post, and made a donation.
When a disaster strikes, I tend to turn to trusted news sources such as the New York Times or CNN to hear the latest details on the disaster as well as try to find citizen journalist reporting. Global Voices, a network of bloggers around the world, reported that social media has become a lifeline for earthquake victims and Ushahidi published this summary about online volunteers. There’s been reporting on the deaths hikers on Mount Everest, including a Google executive and a provocative video of hikers at a base camp being shaken and covered,but surviving an after-shock.
When comes to donations, I tend to contribute to charities that I’m already supporting that have a track record of disaster relief and also look for recommendations of vetted charities from colleagues (which tends to happen through social channels) as well as seek out opportunities to share information with my network on social channels.
How do you decide which charity you will support for disaster relief? When disaster strikes, are you as likely to donate as you are to share information about where to donate?
(From Alison Carlman, Global Giving on a Facebook thread)
A one-time gift today will get to Nepal this week, helping with immediate relief and recovery efforts by either local OR locally-rooted (but international) disaster recovery nonprofits that are responding to the immense need. (GREAT.) A monthly donation to the GlobalGiving Fund, will, A) be MATCHED the first time by an anonymous donor to GlobalGiving (details here, and B) will be disbursed on a monthly basis, likely to different organizations over time, as the work shifts away from relief toward long-term recovery, with a focus on our hyper-local nonprofit partners that are deeply rooted in their communities and best-positioned to provide true recovery (and future disaster resilience) in their communities for the long haul. (ALSO GREAT.)