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The Resilient People of Nepal

By Dean Whittaker

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for the people of Nepal.

Amidst the death and destruction, the resilient people of Kathmandu, Nepal have begun to rebuild following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred on April 25th at 11:40 AM.

As many of you may be know, we have had a subsidiary office, Whittaker Analytics, in Kathmandu Nepal for the past three-and-a-half years. We work with two full-time and one-part time employee, and a group of university interns. When we heard of the major earthquake, our first concern was for the safety of our colleagues. Fortunately, the members of our team are uninjured and safe.

The violence of the earthquake is hard to imagine. The force of nature shakes the very ground you stand on or the building you occupy such that you are unable to stand. Objects in the room become missiles, windows break, buildings collapse, and the taste of dust is in the air. The major earthquake was over in a few minutes, but it has been followed by after-shocks that now have gone on for days.

The trauma of the event has left people afraid to be indoors. When they are inside, they leave the door open for a quick exit and also stay on the first floor. “Tent cities” have sprung up in the few open spaces in the city to provide temporary shelter. Food and water may become the next concern.

Against this backdrop, Vidhan Rana, the founder of our office in Kathmandu, and his team, are helping to coordinate the relief effort. . They are organizing groups, focusing on critical needs. Biruwa , Vidhan’s business incubator, is hosting a group of 40 volunteers using open source software to create a crowd sourced reporting website to help direct relief efforts and to assess the damage: http://bit.ly/1DHuQif.

Many within the economic development community have stepped forward to offer their expertise.

As time passes the needs change. When I asked Vidhan earlier this week what they need, he said medical equipment including portable x-ray equipment. Many of those injured have bone fractures. Vidhan is meeting with a group of doctors to learn more about their other needs. Funds have been raised to purchase more equipment as needed.

A West Michigan non-profit, Aqua Clara will be shipping residential water filtration equipment thanks to one of their benefactors. Sanitation is a concern with so many people living outdoors.

Next on his list are more tents to provide temporary housing until more permanent structures can be built. This will be followed by contact with manufacturers of prefabricated housing and city planners to help plan the rebuilding of Kathmandu and the surrounding areas.

Although this is not a plea for funds, if you would like to support the effort, here are some of the best ways to do so: http://bit.ly/1DHuQif.

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