When Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast ten years ago, the fundamentals of disaster relief poured in: water, sanitation, food, shelter. But looking back, we can see that the most effective tool for the hardest hit was something else altogether: community organizing.
The failure of the strongest government in the world was of historic proportions. But faith and interfaith communities made history. They were the first responders, if not the only help, for most people over the course of several weeks. After 10 years, their work with survivors continues.
The first time the public was asked about their willingness to pay to rebuild after a disaster was following the flooding caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The country was nearly evenly divided on whether federal funds should be banned from being used.
Over the last ten years, the American Red Cross and other disaster response organizations have taken the lessons of Katrina and applied new thinking and new technology to better prepare for and respond to natural disasters.
Preparing for the next disaster by building back better is a rising refrain today among those of us engaged in disaster response and recovery efforts around the globe. In New Orleans, EXCELth is showing us all how to do that in a thoughtful way.
Success comes when local groups, governments, and donors all understand the objectives and are working out of the same playbook. And since we know that this will not be Nepal's last earthquake, we have to reach toward lasting solutions. And that must be done together.
Scott Austin Key is Co-Founder of Emergency Floor, an innovative, low-cost flooring solution for refugee families in conflict and disaster stricken regions around the world.
In the aftermath of Nepal's earthquakes, my first concern has always been for the children. A million children affected by the earthquake need homes. They need to be cared for and protected from very real dangers such as trafficking.
Nepal has been in the news recently and for horrific reasons. If you are a member of a religious congregation or faith group, you have probably heard someone lift them up in prayer over the last few weeks.
In the wake of a disaster, there is a desperate immediate need for food, shelter, medicine and other aid. But in the longer term, entire systems may need to be rebuilt.
In the months and years ahead, stress could damage individuals and families. When an earthquake wipes hometowns off maps, psychosocial care is critical and is always part of a long-term, comprehensive response.
It's quiet in Kathmandu these days. For the last 20 years the city has been overpopulated with tourists and guest workers, all of whom have left, so it's emptier. But it's more than that. The quiet relates to a sense of fear.ai
Over 30 years ago I led a team of Nepalis going village to village in rural Gorkha district providing immunizations, health education, and some medical care for the rural populations. The villages of Barpak and Gumda were nearest to the staggeringly beautiful Himalayas.
I wish I could hug every angel out there that has helped us through this daunting process, but I can't except for with my words.
People are in trauma everywhere in Nepal. Like a doctor in an emergency room, aid workers are focused on the most immediate needs first: food, shelter and medical care.
Ultimately, we need to devise a strategy that delivers humanitarian aid for education in emergencies. By the end of this year, we hope to establish a fund that will allow us to act quickly without having to send the begging bowl around whenever a crisis emerges.