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Monday, March 1, 2021

Qatar residents urged to donate money, not goods, to Nepal victims

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Destroyed buildings in Nepal
Destroyed buildings in Nepal

People in Qatar who wish to assist victims of the devastating Nepal earthquake have been requested to contribute money to the relief effort instead of submitting clothes, shoes and other goods, the Nepal Embassy in Doha has said.

Donations can be transferred to a number of accounts under the Nepal Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief fund, or made through a number of established and reputable charities or aid agencies such as Qatar Red Crescent, which on Sunday announced its QR12 million fundraising appeal.

Nepal Earthquake accounts
Nepal Earthquake accounts

QRC is one of dozens of international aid agencies that has sent emergency relief to the country in the aftermath of Saturday’s earthquake, which has so far claimed more than 4,500 lives and injured 6,000.

However, the country’s worst earthquake in 80 years may have killed as many as 10,000 people, as more information comes in from remote villages, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala told Reuters yesterday.

An official at Nepal’s local mission told Doha News that donations of clothes, shoes and other household goods have not been identified as priority items in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, and has requested that residents do not collect these at the moment.

According to the embassy’s website, items identified as particularly in need for the rescue and relief operation include medicine, tents, dry food, water, blankets, water purifier, sanitation kits and mattresses.

However, such “in kind” collections must be pre-approved by the Coordination and Contact Team at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu before being sent, the advice adds.

“We don’t want clothes. We are not collecting these right now. People can donate the priority items but they must get permission first. What we really need right now is money,” the official added.

Skilled medical personnel are also being sought to be part of volunteer rescue teams to aid with the ongoing recovery of victims.

Doctors specializing in orthopedics and neurology, surgeons, and nurses, health assistants and anesthetists are all needed.

The rescue team should be “small in size, sound and self-mobilizing,” with each member possessing a valid passport and having received pre-approval from the coordination and contact team in Kathmandu, the online statement adds.

Hotel collection

However, there are exceptions to the rule about avoiding in-kind donations. This week, the Grand Hyatt Doha hotel has set up an appeal after receiving a request from its sister property in Kathmandu following the earthquake.

It is requesting donations – particularly clean, folded clothing, tarpaulin and hygiene items – to be delivered to the hotel concierge between 9am and 5pm daily. It cannot accept cash donations.

https://twitter.com/GrandHyattDoha/status/592905102928826369

The items will be delivered to its sister hotel in Nepal’s capital, which has opened its doors to those left homeless since the earthquake struck, spokeswoman Noha Belhaj told Doha News. She added:

“We have teams traveling between Doha and Kathmandu and they will personally take these goods. When the earthquake happened we sent a team of staff with 11 boxes of medical supplies.

Our Kathmandu hotel was one of the few buildings in the area thankfully not affected by the earthquake. It is now home to hundreds of people who are staying there.”

Nepalis in Qatar

Qatar is home to around 400,000 Nepalis, accounting for the second-largest expat community here.

Nepal’s embassy here has been helping to secure exit visas for those of its nationals who wanted to go back to check on family and homes. Embassy workers have also helped those struggling to get clearance and permission to return from their employers, Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera English spoke to Nepalis outside the Embassy in Doha who were desperately trying to contact their friends and families who have been affected.

The non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch has appealed to employers of Nepalis in Qatar and in the wider Gulf to allow their staff a day off each week and to have access to a phone and the internet as they try to make contact with loved ones back home.

“This is no time to look the other way. Nepalis have helped to build the glittering towers of the Gulf countries and care for countless families abroad. Now is the time to show them some appreciation and enable them to help their families rebuild their lives and homes,” HRW’s Rothna Begum said in a statement.

Donation issues

Since the disaster struck, online forums in Qatar have been full of requests on how to help, and where to send donations of clothes, shoes, blankets, medicines and other goods.

However, while well-intentioned, “in kind” collections often cause significant logistic issues when it comes to transporting the goods to the country in need. It also takes time to sort, store and distribute the items.

In a statement to Doha News, QRC explained some of the potential problems agencies face in processing such donations:

“In-kind donations are considered a manifestation of humanitarian solidarity with the affected population. However, they might hinder humanitarian workers who find themselves with huge amounts of items that they have to distribute although they are not a priority at an early stage of a catastrophe. Sometimes these donations might contradict with local culture or might be of low quality that does not comply with national and international standards of donor organizations.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The charity continued:

“The huge flow of in-kind donations leaves airports under enormous pressure, which hinders in turn the arrival of emergency assistance. Sometimes priority goes for medical teams, field hospitals or water and sanitation systems which is the case right now in Nepal. Therefore, assistance should be prioritized or unwanted items will block the flow of basic ones.”

QRC said that it can often be cheaper and easier to procure goods and items in the country affected or in neighboring countries, rather than flying them in, which requires customs clearance and other procedures.

Goods bought on the ground can also be purchased in a more organized way and are based on people’s needs.

American organization USAID CIDI (Center for International Disaster Information) gives similar general advice for making donations to disaster funds on its website under “Guidelines for Giving,” saying: “Monetary contributions to established relief agencies are always the best way to help.”

Relief

With the number of dead and injured rising, priority on the ground is for medical supplies such as field hospitals, water and sanitation systems and shelters, QRC said.

The charity said its first two plane-loads of aid and a relief team of 20 experts and volunteers arrived in Kathmandu earlier today and are starting to set up their temporary hospitals and distribute emergency supplies.

Field hospital
Field hospital

Its field hospital, comprising tents, medical and non-medical equipment, is operated by up to eight medics and local volunteers.

QRC said the hospital is self-sufficient, provides up to 40 beds and will offer a full range of medical services to more than 30,000 people for up to 100 days without resorting to any external supplies.

QRC’s relief fund aims to provide assistance to nearly 400,000 people in more than 90,000 families affected by the earthquake, the charity said in a statement.

Thoughts?

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A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago

Good article. The coordination and contact team in Nepal who is tasked to oversee the flow of aid goods and personal has created a huge bottleneck restricting access into Nepal. Also whatever aid and personal who do make it in are finding it impossible to reach some remote villages due to lack of infrastructure or transport, hence the call for self sufficent aid groups to enter.

I’m suprised qatars Lekiwyha search and rescue team has not be mobilized. I was almost certain they would be there. They are experienced as they were on the ground for around 6 month in Haiti and have had femine rescue operation experience in Africa. Plus they have a fully equipped mobile hospital unit which include the latest equipment. It could also be due to lack of ability to mobilize at this time in Nepal, perhaps and I hope they will get involved once things settle.

Another note, donations of clothes should be made to charities which will distribute them locally. Speaking to people who work in Eid charity and Qatar red crescent they do face challenges with moving clothes as it takes up much needed space. Instead they keep wool blankets, wool sweaters, jackets and new shoes while the rest is handed out internally. The best thing is always money and let the aid workers sort out what’s needed.

We started an office pool and collected a large sum of money which we handed to out office driver and cleaning staff, do the same if Nepalese work in your office. Also buy 500 riyals worth of calling cards and hand them out to Nepalese in the supermarket or car washes.

Rachel Davis
Rachel Davis
5 years ago

Lesley – I’ve been saying this for a few days on the public forums and haven’t been listened to. Thanks SO much for highlighting this!!

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

I’m praying to God, he’s all powerful and merciful and he will help these people out.

Muhammedh Naufer
Muhammedh Naufer
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Ameen!

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

However I do have this feeling that he should have not launched the earthquake on them in the first place.

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

RAmen.

Gracie
Gracie
5 years ago

I am sure the Qataris can offer a lot of money, it would be a more useful expenditure than buying overly priced license plate numbers or diamond encrusted pianos

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Gracie

its not the qataris only how should donate , it should be everyone . & what qataris do with their money is no ones concern .

Shabzed
Shabzed
5 years ago
Reply to  Gracie

Stop bashing Qataris at least in this tragedy. Its pathetic.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Gracie

Don’t see how it is any of your business what Qataris spend their money on. Does anyone tell you how to spend your money? Let’s us know what you have bought recently so we can judge you from a distance…

Skippy1111
Skippy1111
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Actually, it is everyone’s business to know what Qatari’s spend their ‘hard earned ( sic) money on – because we live in a global economy. The world is watching and judging. America has recieved a lot of criticism because the US govt has promised a measly $9million US in emergency funds for Nepal, although it has sent aid teams, hospital supplies etc. Israel has also sent aid teams, hospitals, doctors etc ( Israel always gets a lot of stick ) Qatar has 400000 Nepalese here, it relies upon these people to do the work Qataris would never do – no nepalese, no qatar.
How much has the Qatari govt promised or contributed to a country that provides nearly 25% of it’s work force? A society is judged by it’s empathy & compassion towards others less fortunate, Qatar’s society is sadly lacking..

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

Qataris, Qatari gov’t and Qatari companies are three different things. You claim that ppl should know what Qataris spend their money on because the us gov’t is under scrutiny…why is Qatar the only place you mix up the gov’t and individuals for blame and actions?

If Qataris should be judged on spending then everyone should be judged on their spending…by the average global person which is under the poverty. I’m sure you will be the first to give up your car, annual travelling and other luxuries for equality.

Skippy1111
Skippy1111
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Misha..this article is on Doha News, aimed at people who live in Qatar.
I dont claim that people would know what Qataris spend their money on, i stated that the world is both watching & aware of which countries contribute what aid to Nepal – countries represent societies and it’s people. The Qatar govt represents the Qatar society and it’s people, the US govt, for example has been widely criticised for it’s little contribution by it’s own people, while the Israeli govt, for example has been somewhat lauded for it’s contribution in comparison to it’s GDP & small population.
The Australian Govt, again for example, made an initial donation of $5 million, the US just $9million – Australia has a population of 23 million, the US has 300 Million. Two very rich countries, but, per capita, Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world and also has the second biggest Nepalese society outside of Nepal itself.
Ive said before and will happily say it again, Qataris in general spend more and care more for their fancy cars than they do the people who work for them or serve them.
Also, fyi, i wasn’t the first but when i came to Qatar ( luxury travel, lol ) i actually donated my car to a charity, so i now have no car to give up for equality.
I didnt mention equality, i mentioned the govt of Qatar as representing Qatar society making a donation on behalf of Qatar to Nepal, where many of it’s working & service people originate, people upon who Qatar relies.

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

I am not disagreeing, Qatar should make a sizable donation especially considering the relationship it has with Nepal.

My issue with your comment was “It is everyone’s business what Qataris spend their money on” in reference to the previous comment of the personal purchase of the piano and liscense plates. Again you mention the amounts of gov’t donations but your comment that I quoted refers to individual spending.

I would not choose to spend my money on a fancy car or a piano. I think it is a waste of money and could be used in other ways but I also do not know how much money these people have given to charity unless it is publicly declared.

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

I admire the fact that you gave up your car to charity, I don’t think I’d be able to do that. I agree that it is unhelpful to spend money on frivolous items, but what other people spend their money on is none of our concern. No one is obligated to anything. To donate your hard earned money is a personal choice, not an obligation or responsibility. I like how you mention we live in a global economy – an economy which is stimulated by the purchase of ‘diamond encrusted pianos’ and sports cars, not donations to the Nepalese government.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

The Nepalese that come to work here don’t do it out of charity, they get paid for their work. It’s an exchange of labour for financial remuneration, it doesn’t mean Qatar has an obligation to Nepal.

It’s like saying there are so many Indians in Qatar that Qatar should do something about the mega slums in places like Mumbai.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

What Nepal needs is the West and other rich nations such as Qatar, China with capabilty to send rescue teams, doctors, engineers, nurses and disaster relief teams which are self sufficient. Sending money to such places as Nepal, India and Africa is one of the worst things you can do. The money doesn’t reach the intended victims fast enough and much of the money goes ‘misssing’ before reaching its final destination. Human greed trumps over human compassion every time. It may make the person in the west feel better about themselves that they have donated and it makes the corrupt person the other end happy they have enough money for a new luxury car….

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Agreed, my Haitian friend told me that a lot of the money to Haiti didn’t go to the right places or come in at all. A lot of people are still living in tents in Haiti. It is always a risk. Sadly their are probably scams already in place ready to take advantage of the situation.

After the emergency situation has calmed down, it would be very useful to train Nepalis for the long term in things as construction, engineering and medicine. Education and supplies woulf need money.

I hope the Qatari gov’t is as generous with Nepal as it has been with other countries.

Rascal_Green
Rascal_Green
5 years ago

Unfortunately, as with most third world countries, money sent through the government and embassies goes straight into the pockets of the rich and wealthy instead of where it’s needed. You should even research the charities you send money too as a few of them pay their CEO’s and staff a considerable amount of money. I agree that aid such as second hand goods, toys etc are not needed in the direct aftermath of a disaster such as this, however they DO need tents, blankets, medicine, dry foods etc. The Nepali government has taken far too long to respond to the needs of their people. God bless the Nepalese and their beautiful county.

harrypotter
harrypotter
5 years ago

i felt in tears when i saw thousands of people dead due to this incident. i pray that God should console the victims and give them courage to bear the lost. and to the good people of the world who had volunteered to help in saving the human race in Nepal, i pray for more strength on your shoulders and that you shall never encounter problem in your every day endeavor. to the government or minister and whosoever that is responsible for the charity donations, remember these people and here unto their cry God is watching all of us as the last time donations where sent to Philippine it was reported that so many people had not received any help from the government and i believe so criminals sees this as an opportunity for them to embezzle what belongs to the afflicted. God save Nepal… God save human race

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