In the wake of this past weekend's devastating earthquake in Nepal, Tourism Cares and The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have launched appeals for aid to the area.
The move follows yesterday's announcement by G Adventures of a Nepal relief fund. That effort met its fundraising goal of $75,000 in 36 hours -- due to the response, the company has upped its target to $100,000. G Adventures will match the next $25,000 in donations, which can be made at http://bit.ly/1Qx5Sv1.
Tourism Cares has launched a fund aimed at revitalizing Nepal's tourism sector.
“People should certainly fund immediate relief efforts,” said Mike Rea, CEO of Tourism Cares, “but we are urging the industry to earmark some of its giving for Nepal’s tourism industry and its long-term recovery.”
Rea said that tourism is an especially important part of Nepal’s developing economy, and will be even more so after primary relief efforts are complete. According to the World Tourism and Travel Council, tourism in 2013 contributed 500,000 jobs and 8.2 percent of GDP, with strong growth projected.
The Fund will be used with local industry leaders, Solimar International’s local team and others on tourism projects that may include:
- Identifying needs and prioritizing actions for tourism recovery;
- Revitalizing Nepal’s tourism product and its marketing;
- Targeted restoration and physical investments in projects that may otherwise fall through the cracks; and
- Training and recovery funds for industry professionals.
Tourism Cares will allocate 100 percent of fund donations to program expenses, waiving administrative fees.
In addition to launching the Nepal Recovery Fund, Tourism Cares is surveying its membership and the industry to help measure the scope of collective giving to Nepal in the wake of the earthquake.
To donate or download a project brief, visit www.tourismcares.org/NepalRecovery.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has also launched a preliminary emergency appeal to help the Nepal Red Cross Society deliver assistance to 75,000 people affected by the earthquake.
The appeal will allow the Red Cross Red Crescent to provide critical, life-saving support, such as emergency shelter and basic household items, emergency health and care, including psychosocial support, livelihoods support, dignified burials and restoring family links services.
IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy said, “This is a major disaster, and we are still to fully understand the impact. Our appeal reflects the situation as we understand it now. As more information becomes available, as more remote villages and communities are reached, it will be adjusted.”
More than 1,500 volunteers and 300 staff from the Nepal Red Cross Society have been working around the clock since the earthquake. They have supported search and rescue efforts, provided first aid, offered psychosocial support, carried out assessments and given assistance at evacuation centres and on the streets.
In addition to supporting relief efforts in Kathmandu, Red Cross teams are working with authorities to reach towns and villages closer to the epicentre of the quake. The humanitarian situation in these areas is of major concern.
The IFRC, working closely with Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world, is also deploying teams and supplies to support the response effort. A Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT) is on the ground to support Nepal Red Cross assessments and to help guide the first waves of international support.
Seven Emergency Response Units (ERU) – self-sufficient emergency response assets and teams – have also been dispatched and will arrive this week. These include a rapid deployment hospital, two basic health care units, two logistical units, one emergency relief unit and an IT/Telecommunications unit.
Three charter planes with relief supplies are also being prepared, with the first set to depart from Kuala Lumpur this Wednesday carrying relief supplies for 2,000 families.
“We are rallying our global resources to support the Nepal Red Cross, and make sure that the response to this disaster is as efficient and effective as possible. We call on all partners and donors to urgently and generously support our action, and the wider humanitarian efforts that have been launched in response to this critical situation,” said Sy.
Death Toll Passes 5,000
The death toll from the earthquake passed 5,000 as of early Tuesday, according to NBC News. According to Nepal's National Emergency Operation Center, nearly 11,000 have been injured and 450,000 have been displaced from their homes. The United Nations reports that 1.4 million are in urgent need of food supplies.
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert, recommending that U.S. citizens defer nonessential travel to Nepal, and that U.S. citizens in the country exercise caution when traveling their or planning their departure.
"The possibility for aftershocks of significant magnitude persists," the State Department statement said. "Infrastructure is fragile and access to basic resources, including healthcare, could be limited. Cell phone and internet service are intermittent. In Kathmandu and elsewhere, some buildings are collapsed and some roads are impassable. Many roads are crowded with people and transportation is difficult. Kathmandu's airport has been re-opened since the earthquake, however, it may close temporarily without notice due to aftershocks or inclement weather. We encourage travelers to contact your airline to confirm flight availability before departing for the airport. If you are in a safe location, the best option might be to shelter in place. This Travel Alert expires on August 1, 2015."
The State Department has set up a Nepal Crisis Page at www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/english/NepalEarthquake.html that travelers can check for updates.
The U.S. government has pledged $10 million in humanitarian assistance to relief agencies in operation in Nepal. A U.S. Disaster Assistance and Response Team (DART) arrived in Nepal the morning of April 28 to assist with relief and recovery efforts in coordination with the Nepal Government, the international community, and relief agencies.