Nepal Earthquake 2015: How to help


 A week has passed since the dreadful earthquake in Nepal. I as a responsible citizen of Nepal and a member of social organization want to share my experiences and the ground reality after the Nepal earthquake.

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 was just another normal public holiday in Nepal. The weather was bit cloudy and little cold. I was at the fourth floor of a house in Kathmandu when there was the big earthquake. I felt a very strong tremor. Everything in the room was shaking and falling down that I couldn’t even get out of the room for few seconds. Suddenly I heard people screaming from outside. I looked from the window and saw most of the people from the neighborhood had come out of their houses and were on the street. I had felt earthquakes before but this one was most scary because there were many after shocks occurring every now and then.

I saw women and children crying and people were very scared and looking for safer place. For some time, I stayed among the neighbors in one of the open fields nearby. At the field itself there must be more than five hundred people. I hurried to call my home which is also in Kathmandu. But all the phone connections were out. After trying several times, I gave up calling and decided to go to my home. I walked to the main road and saw huge number of people on the middle of the street. They had used the street as a safe field with no houses or electricity poles nearby. Due to unplanned housing and urbanization, people in Kathmandu have left limited open spaces.

I walked past one of the community hospitals and saw nurses and doctors were treating patients outside on the street. Due to the fear of the quake, every body even the serious patients were out. As I went inside the hospital to see if I can help in anyway, I saw one lady laying on the floor as the paramedics had just announced her dead. A part of the roof of the house had fallen on her. One nurse said that there were no enough stretchers to take that lady outside. After seeing a dead person in front of me, I slowly realized that the earthquake must have caused serious damage in other places. I hurried to walk to my home as the traffic had stopped and people were in panic. I was relieved to see that my family was safe after reaching my home. Then I went on foot to the main places of the city like the Kathmandu durbar square and Sundhara. The scene was shocking as many ancient palaces and temples of Kathmandu which was our pride were destroyed. Kasthamandap – a temple after which Kathmandu was named had fallen down. I saw policemen and volunteers were clearing the debris of the fallen temples looking for trapped people. Also it was even sad to see Dharahara which was a historical  monument in central Kathmandu had completely fallen down.

People were confused and still outside of their houses after dusk as the after shocks were going on. I couldn’t decide what to do as many people were packing their essentials and leaving houses to live at the open fields nearby. There were some volunteers at our organization and all were safe so after serving them food, I went with them to look for open fields. The community grounds, school grounds and other open space nearby was already full of people.  We found one ground and stayed the night there. Some people were living under temporary tents while some were inside their cars as there was occasional rainfalls. We spent few days like that sleeping outside under open sky as the fear continued.

Aftermath of the Nepal Earthquake 2015

The disastrous earthquake of 7.8 richter scale had an epicenter in Barpark village of Gorkha district in Nepal.  The quake was followed by many after shocks which is still going on after a week also. The government of Nepal had declared emergency in the severely affected districts. The quake has caused serious damages in twelve districts of Nepal. According to the official figures as of May 2, 2015, nearly Seven thousand people have lost their lives and nearly Fifteen thousand are injured. About Ten thousand government buildings are damaged because of which the local administration and government schools, hospitals will be unable to provide quick services to the public. More than One hundred thirty thousand local houses are completely destroyed whereas about One hundred thirty four thousand local houses are partially destroyed.

Many tourists mainly trekkers have been reported missing. There was an avalanche in the Everest region after the quake and landslides at the Langtang region which are considered as the world famous trekking trails. There were also reports about losses at the Manaslu trekking region. Detailed official reports about the losses at these region is not out yet because of  bad weather condition so that the rescue helicopters could not reach on time. Moreover the geographical condition of Nepal is so complex that the villages are situated at the hills and mountains. Good roadways and transportation is not available and it can take hours to reach one village from another by walking on foot. Due to the difficult geographical terrain, it is taking time for the deployed teams and aid workers to reach different villages, rescue people and distribute food and relief materials.

The Nepal government has deployed all its resources at the earthquake hit districts. About Sixty thousand Nepal Army and Thirty thousand Nepal Police force have been mobilized. Many individual volunteers and Non-governmental organizations have come forward for the relief works. The search and rescue works are still going on in different places. Many countries have sent rescue teams, paramedics and relief materials to Nepal. Friendly nations and International humanitarian organizations have pledged millions of dollars worth of aid to Nepal.

Nepal was not ready for the disaster of this scale. The people of Nepal who are illiterate or even educated ones did not have enough knowledge  about the safety after earthquake. Many people were injured due to running after panic. Being a poor country, Nepal do not have modern equipments and enough tools required for the rescue after natural disaster. The main thing which has  hindered the rescue operations is lack of helicopters and resources. Rescue teams from different countries are working together with Nepali forces all round the clock but there has been reports from the badly hit places that rescue efforts are taking longer. There has been miraculous rescue stories where a fifteen year old boy was rescued alive after 120 hours who was trapped under the rubble.

Similarly the relief works are not going smoothly. This is because the government does not have enough relief materials. The most important relief material required right now is tents as people have become homeless. For example, one thousand tents are required in one affected village where 90% of the houses have fallen down but the government can only provide one hundred. So due to lack of tents, the people of the quake hit villages are forced to live under open sky without any shelter coping with the harsh sun, rain and windy conditions. Tents are not available in large quantities in Nepal so some one has to buy it from other countries or get as a donation. The government has announced that for the import of tents or while getting it as a donation from other countries, there will be no tax on it. This goes same for food, medicines and relief materials for the earthquake victims.

Most people in Kathmandu have returned to their houses whose houses were not damaged but many locals who have lost their houses are living in camps. The condition in the villages is miserable as many people are deprived of the basic essentials i.e. food, shelter and drinking water. Providing tents, food and drinking water has been the biggest challenge for the government and the social organizations working on field right now. Actually the government and NGO’s have been able to distribute only dry foods like beaten rice, packet noodles and biscuits right now. In fact people at the remote villages have not even received essential medicines. The injured from the far villages has to be airlifted by a helicopter to district center or to Kathmandu for medical treatment.

The picture of the city is different than that of remote villages. The condition of the main city like Kathmandu and district centers is good in terms of availability of materials and hospitals but the distant villages are suffering more where people have lost their houses, family members and livestock. In addition to this not getting the relief materials when needed has brought frustration among the people.

Many people are out of contact right now as the communications and electricity is down in some villages. As a result of the earthquake, schools are closed and exams are postponed. Thousands of people are displaced and many businesses and shops are closed. Some media have spread false news and shown graphic images which are disturbing. The many aftershocks have caused secondary effects like Landslides which is another natural calamity that hits Nepal every year.

In some camps in Kathmandu valley, about fifteen hundred people are living in one camp. Authorities are also worried about the spread of airborne diseases and other infectious diseases transmitted due to water and hygiene. Some hospitals are still full of patients admitted after the quake. United nations agency has said that pregnant women, girls and women of reproductive age are vulnerable at this time. UNICEF has asked the parents to keep their children with them and keep an eye on them. Some people with evil intentions can harm the children. There can be danger of sexual violence or Human Trafficking. Some children may also suffer psychologically due to the events after the earthquake. This catastrophe has affected the Nepalese society in many levels. In order to deal with unforeseen problems, people must stay positive and unite at this time of national tragedy.

How to help for the Nepal earthquake relief

Nepal government has announced relief package for the earthquake victims but it is not sufficient. Only government efforts is not enough for the relief and rehabilitation of the quake victims. Billions of dollars would be required for the reconstruction and rehabilitation. Individual volunteers, social organizations, NGO’s, INGO’s, Private sectors must work together with the government in order to provide essential and effective relief to the needy. The UNESCO world heritage sites like Kathmandu durbar square, Patan durbar square, Bhaktapur durbar square, Bouddhanath, Swayambhunath and Changunarayan temples were worst hit by the earthquake. These sites needs to be reconstructed. Many cracked houses are still unsuitable for living. There may be risk in living in those structures. Thousands of people have lost their homes which must be rebuilt.

Social organizations and volunteers have to work towards spreading social awareness among the people. Volunteers have to reach each and every village and spread message about diseases, hygiene, rehabilitation and disaster preparedness. There should be special attention for the welfare of the underprivileged communities. International volunteering can help Nepal in many ways. There are many schools which are completely or partially destroyed by the quake. It needs to be rebuilt. There is short supply of essential items such as food, tarpaulin, medicines etc. Interested individuals or organizations can fundraise.

Furthermore speaking about fundraising, I have seen many individuals and organizations creating donations page and asking for money. I would ask people not to rush to donate money to Nepal. The relief and rehabilitation phase will take months. So I would request people abroad to collect the funds and donate according to the requirement of the cause. In this regard there should be transparency so only give donations to trusted individual or organizations. The Nepal police has reported some fake websites asking for donations as there are some bad people who try to use this opportunity to mislead others.

If you want to send materials then only send useful materials. The government has asked Non-profit organizations to co-ordinate first with the local authorities before distributing relief materials at any place thus to avoid duplication. If any International volunteer want to help Nepal for the disaster relief then I would ask only skilled volunteers to step forward. For instance, some one who can build shelter or construct something  and medical professionals who can set up a camp and treat patients. It would be a great cause to volunteer in Nepal at the time when help is most needed for the Nepali people.

Being a Non-profit organization in Nepal, Nepali host family would like to fundraise for buying tents, blankets, medicines, water purifying tablets, sanitary pads, mosquito nets and phenol to be distributed at the earthquake hit districts in Nepal. Also we would like to request medical institutions or medical volunteers to join hands with us. We will provide full support.

At last despite of many limitations, the Nepali rescue teams and foreign rescue teams have done outstanding work and deserve acclamation. Also Thank you to the aid agencies and individuals for your great humanitarian efforts!

Samridha Pandey
Nepali host family
Kathmandu, Nepal

Below is website and email address of our NGO. Please visit our face book page for the latest updates.

Face book page

landslides in the trekking region after the earthquake in Nepal
people in Kathmandu built temporary tents by using pieces of plastic
people living in open fields to have shelter from rain
people living in mass may risk in transmission of diseases after the quake
first day after the quake, police rescuing the people trapped in debris at Kathmandu durbar square
one of the historical palaces at Kathmandu durbar square after the quake
houses have collapsed in Kathmandu after the quake
nurses treating patients outside on street after the big earthquake in Kathmandu
traffic was halted and people panicked after the Nepal quake
local people gathered in safe places after the quake in Nepal
mainly old houses have fallen down in Kathmandu after the quake

Building a shower room in a Disabled Home

Since the beginning of October I have been here in Nepal. Nepal turned out to be one of the most impressive and diverse countries I have visited. Hospitality got a new definition here for me, kindness and patience are framing the everyday life – I would say a journey to Nepal is a journey to the people. But this is not the only aspect of the country. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world where more than 25% of the population is living below the poverty line. Being here for just a month, I have experienced these contrasts every day.

One of the examples is the disabled home in Kathmandu where I am volunteering since few weeks. There are around 21 mentally disabled students. As a volunteer, I’ve been helping the center by painting the walls, coloring the swing and the benches. I also worked at the sewing class and taught them to make bracelets. I like sharing my knowledge and don’t mind helping the teachers and staff with the everyday work at the center.

Five out of the 21 students who stay at the disabled center are orphans. Few students living there are abandoned by their parents because they don’t know how to handle them. There are two women staffs that live with the disabled children but they don’t have any medical knowledge. Medicine as well is very scarce and not provided to every child. Some windows of the sleeping rooms are broken, food is served every day though but it is very basic. Diapers for children and the totally disabled are expensive and not affordable. Also clean clothes for everybody, towels and toothbrushes are not available.

One of the main problems is that there is no shower installed at the disabled home so the children wash themselves by bucket shower outside at the ground. Because of this some children remain not properly cleaned and there is a lack of hygiene. I saw it is too hard for the women staffs to wash all the 21 students using the bucket shower so a proper shower is necessary for this disabled center. My thought is that if there is a shower, it will be easier for the staff to wash them. Constructing a proper shower room would be a big help for this disabled center.

My aim is to build a shower room so that a general need of every child could be fulfilled – They could stay clean and the hygiene can be maintained. To construct a shower room, we need 500 bricks, 4 bags of cement, a tractor of sand, a steel roof, a door, a water tank and some pipes. Three workers including a plumber would be required for the construction.

But for this I need your help so I am fundraising. If you are interested in supporting my project, then please donate whatever you can on the following bank account:

You can be sure, that the money will be directly invested for the shower construction project. As soon as we are able to fundraise enough money, the construction of the shower room can start. Please see some photos of the Disabled center below.

We are very thankful for every donation.

Best and warms regards from Nepal,

 Elisabeth Gruber

(Elisabeth is from Austria who is volunteering in Nepal with Nepali Host Family at the Disabled home in Kathmandu and she is fundraising for the shower room construction project)

Note: This project was completed on December 15th 2014. Friends and family of Elisabeth donated generously and we were able to fund raise enough money for this project. Thank you to all the great people from Austria and Germany who donated.

More Info:




Medical Camp for Children in Nepal

I was up by 5:30 on September 27, getting ready for our early morning start to the medical camp for children in Kavre district, Nepal. Bleary eyed, I grabbed the bags of gear and miscellaneous food items and headed down to the van we rented for the day.

Our first stop was to the house of Nepali Host Family board member. We unloaded the food items and bring everything into the kitchen. We worked as a mini assembly line, preparing sandwiches to serve as breakfast for the medical camp volunteers. We drank Nepali tea and tried not to get crumbs everywhere as we excitedly talked about our expectations for the medical camp at the village.

After packing the breakfast, we stopped by the pharmacy to pick up the medications for the health camp. We carried box after box of medicines from the pharmacy and down to our van where the driver, standing on top of the van, strapped the boxes to the roof. You could hear while you were carrying them, the faint sounds of glass knocking together. There were syrups, pills and other bottles of medicines in the boxes.

We headed out of Kathmandu and an hour later we were at the gates of Dhulikhel Hospital in the Kavre district. The community hospital is well known in the area and is a part of the Kathmandu University. The hospital had provided two Nepali doctors and a community programs staff member to assist us with the medical outreach. So after picking up the doctors then with a van full of volunteers and doctors, we journeyed the last 15 km to the site of the medical camp. We were setting up the health camp at a local school in the village.

I was forewarned that the last leg of the drive would be a dirt road with little upkeep. I was prepared for a bumpy ride. I was, however, not so prepared for the road being cliff side. As we bumped along I could see the road drop down on the side, a deep descent into the rice fields below. Being that I’m from one of the flattest states in America I had to close my eyes as we rocked back and forth on the edge of what I was sure would be our death. It is hard to imagine the children of the school walk through that road every day.

We did arrive safely to the gates of the school. The uniformed children greeted us and helped us to unload all of our boxes. The first step was to set up a makeshift pharmacy. The other Nepali Host Family volunteers and I opened box after box of medications and tried to keep them as orderly as possible on the low school tables we were provided. After all the equipment was unpacked, we sat down to breakfast, picnic style. That was our opportunity to talk to the board members of Nepali Host Family and the doctors and really get a feel for what was going to be happening there that day.

Before the camp officially started we were all gathered in the grassy field of the school. They held a mini ceremony to honor the doctors and volunteers, especially Mr. Khai-Thai Duong, whose charitable organization Hamromaya Nepal, helped to sponsor the event. I wasn’t expecting anything for myself, but they placed a flower garland around my neck and tika on my forehead. I was so touched. Here I was, just honored that I got to be a part of a good cause like this.

Medical outreach in Nepal

Different organizations organize medical outreach in Nepal every year. This medical outreach was especially for the poor children. The whole camp itself flew by. For the beginning stages I was in the registration room. When the children started arriving they lined up outside the door and were called in one by one. A form was filled out with their name and age, while other volunteers and I measured their height and weight. It was amazing to me that many children didn’t know their age or when they were born. Many children just guessed. A lot of them were really small for their age. You could see the children come in, some dirty, many with no socks and only rubber sandals to make the steep walk to school.

I got to observe the doctors as well. They worked tirelessly as the never-ending line of students sat around the makeshift clinic room. With patience, they examined each student. While there was no privacy, something westerners are accustomed to, each student was given undivided attention. They were given a basic look over, eyes, ears, throat and were asked about any health problems. The most common ailment, it seemed, was worms. The doctors had to diagnose based on symptoms because there was no lab there.

However, sadly, there were some more serious ailments. One girl in particular, just clearly needed medical attention. She had trouble with her eyelids; the muscles weren’t strong enough to keep her eyes open so she had constant obscured vision. She also had chronic severe ear infections that were spreading into her brain. It was apparent that she had some form of mental handicap and the doctors told me she had previously had Tuberculosis. It was heartbreaking. The doctors did what they could for her, but she would have to travel the 15 km to the hospital to be helped fully. I wondered what would happen if there was no medical camp for children. Would this girl just continue to come to school every day ailing? Her parents who I came to know are very poor weren’t there, but I pray that they take her to the hospital.

It was disturbing to think that some of these children had never gotten medical attention before. By the end of the day over 155 children were seen by the doctors and were provided with free medicines. By 4:30 we were once more packing up the van.

I was so grateful to have been able to be a part of that day. It was a lesson to me about what the drive of a few passionate people can accomplish. Nepali Host Family and Hamromaya Nepal, really made a difference in the lives of those children not in a superficial way, but in a serious and lasting way and that is truly awesome.

United States




Two weeks in Nepal

Me and my friends had an awesome two weeks volunteering and traveling in Nepal. When we weren’t busy volunteering we filled our time with typical tourist activities in Kathmandu. We did a few trips to Thamel which is only a short cab ride away from our accommodation. Finding a cab is never a challenge as it would always find you first. We really enjoyed our trips to Thamel. The hectic maze of street side stalls never ceased to entertain us. Our highlight of Thamel was the restaurant or2k on Mandala street, the wide range of food was always delicious. In short breaks, we would often go to Boudhanath – the famous Buddhist stupa which was only a 10 minute walk from our accommodation. The stupa is such an incredible sight and is surrounded by a great variety of shops and cafes. We tried a few cafes there and found Ariya, a modern café to be our favourite with good food, reliable wi-fi and comfy couches. With so many great shops around the stupa, we were tempted to buy things but resisted as we could often find the same things but cheaper away from the main tourist attractions.

We also visited Pashupatinath which is the holy Hindu pilgrimage and was in walking distance from our hostel in Kathmandu. The monkey temple also known as Swayambhunath by the Nepalese people was also a highlight of our trip. We also visited Kathmandu Durbar Square. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the eight year old goddess, Kumari. The living goddess – Kumari, she lives in the Kumari house at Basantapur also known as the Durbar Square of Kathmandu. We even caught a rickshaw from the square to Thamel which was a fun thing to do.

Volunteer travel in Nepal

Half way through our volunteer travel, we took a 5 day trip to Pokhara. It was about an eight hour bus ride through beautiful scenery, so with such amazing sights the trip really didn’t seem that long. We stayed at Tulsi hotel which is just off the main street, lakeside Pokhara. The hotel was right next to all the shops and restaurants. Pokhara was quite different to Kathmandu, the bustling streets seemed to slow, it was a very peaceful place. We did a walk to the world peace pagoda, it is an incredible walk through luscious green forests up a hill. We did get a bit lost so it is important to make sure you don’t attempt the walk alone but the view from the pagoda is incredible. We spent an hour just soaking everything in when we got to the top.

We also did a bike ride to Davis Falls which is a waterfall located at Pokhara city with bikes only 80 rupee an hour to hire and mild traffic it is a great way to get around. The boat trip on the Phewa lake was nice too. We finished our trip in Pokhara by going Paragliding which we would recommend. Flying above the Pokhara city is an incredible experience and a great way to get the best view of all of Pokhara and the lakes and the mountains. If you want to escape the busy streets of Kathmandu, go to Pokhara. It should be on top of the list  if someone is traveling Nepal. On our last full day in Nepal our host took us on a trip to Kirtipur which is other town in Kathmandu then we went to his family home to make Momo. It was a really great experience to see his home and meet his family. A great finish to an incredible two weeks in Nepal.



Hamromaya Nepal: a charity from Germany starts work in Nepal

Hamromaya Nepal is a charitable organisation based in Germany. It was founded in October 2012. The name of the charity is derived from a Nepali word “hamro maya” which gives a combined meaning “our love”. It is the love which the founders of the charity have for Nepal and the Nepali children that made them establish an organisation to help the underprivileged children of Nepal. The organisation aims in supporting the Nepali children for their education, health by uplifting the standards of the Schools, Orphanages, Child care homes and Disabled homes. Our Non-profit, Nepali Host Family is working together with Hamromaya Nepal.

German charity organisation in Nepal

The members of the charity, Hamromaya Nepal have been fundraising, collecting donations in Germany to organize different projects in Nepal. The Founder of the charity came to Nepal in February 2013 with some projects. The main project was to provide new furniture’s to a school in Kathmandu. The plan was to provide new desks, benches and chairs to the Kindergarten classes of the school. The condition of this school is about average. They need financial or technical support. It was a nice time to provide them the new furniture’s which included 6 Desks, 12 Benches and 12 Chairs. At the same time, we worked on some other projects as well. Buddhist child home is the Orphanage with 35 children. Hamromaya Nepal helped in buying some stationery like note books, pencils and pens. They were also in need of curtains and pillows. So the charity helped to get curtains for fifteen windows. The other important work which we did for the orphanage was taking seven of the kids for eye checkups. These seven kids had poor eye sight and were facing problems in studying. So after checkups at the hospital, 4 kids were provided with the glasses and the prescribed medicine was bought for the other kids.

Another nice project which we accomplished at the same time was buying different supplies for the Disabled rehabilitation school in Kathmandu. Nirmal Bal Bikas Vidyalaya is a disabled rehabilitation school which is in urgent need of help. Hamromaya Nepal provided a small support by buying a Sewing machine, Woolen threads and Cotton clothes for them. They needed this for running their vocational classes. A kerosene stove was also bought for the kitchen of this school.

Hamromaya Nepal e.V. hasn’t even been a year old and already the charity was able to do so much for the Nepalese Children. We would like to sincerely thank all the German citizens who had donated for the different projects of Hamromaya Nepal. Nepali Host Family is proud to have a partner organization like them.

Please visit the website of the German charity: