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Subject: Nepal Earthquake - Please Help! rss

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Professor of Pain
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St. Joseph
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As you have likely heard over this past weekend Nepal suffered a tremendous earthquake that has devastated this small, poor country. During my many visits and my time living in Nepal I came to love its people and its places. I have a number of friends and colleagues living there, and I have no way of knowing whether they are alive and safe or if they or their families were killed or injured. I know with certainty, however, that those who are alive are suffering and in danger. I feel compelled to do something, and wish I could do more than I can. What I can do is donate to relief efforts and appeal to you to do the same, even if it’s just a few dollars, anything and everything will help. Here is a convenient page where you can choose from a variety of organizations to donate to:

How to help the relief effort in Nepal

If you have the time, please read on for some additional context.

You may have heard that by official estimates more than 3800 were killed in the Kathmandu valley, with over 7000 others seriously injured. You may have heard that many important religious and historical sites vital to Nepal’s culture and tourism industry are destroyed or severely damaged. You no doubt realize that people need food, water, medical items, and shelter in the form of relief supplies. Let me tell you what you may not have heard.

Nepal is a poor country – one of the poorest in the world. The Indian subcontinent has been colliding with Asia for the past 40 million years, forming the Himalaya Mountains in the process and making the region prone to earthquakes. Because of the steep hills and mountains, building and maintaining roads and communication networks is expensive and difficult, and many people live in extremely remote villages with few modern amenities in marginal, vulnerable conditions. There are two important implications.

First, because the epicenter was about 60 miles west of Kathmandu, Kathmandu was not the hardest hit part of Nepal. There are many remote villages over and around the epicenter, but because they are remote and difficult to reach or communicate with after a disaster of this sort official death tolls do not include those killed in rural areas. Based on what I know, I imagine there are entire villages that have been swallowed up, buried under a landslide, collapsed down the side of a mountain or otherwise completely destroyed. I fully expect the final death toll from all of Nepal to exceed 10,000.

Second, because Nepal is poor, landlocked, and mountainous, people are extremely vulnerable and getting relief supplies to where they are needed is challenging. People have been made homeless and the monsoon rains are coming. Even before the quake Kathmandu was experiencing drinking water shortages and now the valley may be running out of water. There are food and fuel shortages looming. But you can help. Please, I go to one of the sites found through the link above and donate something to the relief effort. Trust me, every little bit will help and your $1, $5 or $100 might just save some lives.
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Professor of Pain
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Here is an interesting, very thorough description of the science and severity of the Nepal earthquake: The M7.8 Earthquake In Nepal Is Going To Be Really, Really Nasty
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Professor of Pain
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Death Toll Tops 4200 in Nepal Earthquake
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Roger Secrest
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Painless way to spend some money. Team Rubicon
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Professor of Pain
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Team Rubicon
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Professor of Pain
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One of the most significant problems right now in Kathmandu is drinking water. The valley was experiencing water stress even before the quake and is quickly running out of potable, clean drinking water - threatening the outbreak of disease.

Outside of Kathmandu rural areas around the epicenter are particularly vulnerable for a number of reasons. For one, they are remote and isolated - several hours walk to the nearest road - and they are often located on steep hillsides that are prone to landslides that can destroy roads if not entire villages. Second, a significant percentage of men from rural Nepal work overseas, particularly in Persian Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The cash they send home as remittances will be helpful, but back home in rural villages women are left to deal with this tragedy while caring for both children and elderly relatives.

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Rudy
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If you don't know who to give to or who to trust, check out Charity Navigator. They are an independent American nonprofit corporation that evaluates charities in the United States.
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Professor of Pain
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This picture of a destroyed village gives a sense for the conditions and destruction in rural Nepal.
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