I have just had a long conversation with a trusted Nepali friend in Kathmandu. He reports chaos and massive corruption. Aid supplies are not getting released - medicine sits on the tarmac, relief workers wait at the airport without anyone telling them where to go, government officials are stealing the tents and other donations to sell, Outlying areas are being ignored.
Another friend just emailed me of massive problems of broken water pipes, underground sewer pipes broken. And it is raining so the many bodies buried in the rubble are starting to decompose, a ripe scenario for a disease epidemic. Workers will not go on roofs or in most buildings to do repairs for fear of crumbling houses. Although lots of relief materials are pouring in, they are not getting distributed. The only glimmer of hope, he reports, are the small relief operations carried out by individuals, local clubs, and private institutions. He is going to try to get to a small village outside Kathmandu where we have a micro credit group of Newari organic farmer women, to give me a report on their situation.
Relief aid, while well intentioned, often ends up in the pockets of corrupt local bureaucrats and/or multinational contracts, with very little reaching the people that actually need it. Ensure that your contributions reach those in need.
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