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.
Over the past few days, the Buddhist Relief Services has been distributing food to villagers in the hardest hit regions of Nepal. We understand, what I call, Ground Reality; we see and hear what is happening on the ground, and are able to give aid where no one else has.
This time there was no warning. There was no hurricane, no tropical storm warning -- just a flash flood warning, which is common in Houston and usually doesn't mean homes will flood.
Friday night I landed in Kathmandu. In baggage claim, an officer told me most of the dead are old people or women. I asked, 'Why?' Because the first earthquake was on a Saturday.
A month after Nepal's most devastating earthquake in 80 years, there are at least a few things to be optimistic about. But make no mistake: a nation that was trying to find itself after a long feudal slumber has now lost its footing again.
When I was in Asia in April, I was inspired to start an educational foundation. I founded a school in Nepal 25 years ago, the Trungram International Academy, which teaches over 400 students a year, and I wanted to extend that opportunity to more children.
Crystal Wells in on the ground in Nepal as part of Concern Worldwide's emergency response team. She was in the isolated village of Bhirkot, preparing for an aid distribution, when the May 12 tremor struck.
Amidst the destruction and aftermath of the recent earthquake in Nepal, daily miracles and moments of compassion illustrate what is possible when humanity bands together -- babies pulled alive from rubble, mothers sheltering hours-old newborns and citizens rushing in from around the world to provide relief to massive suffering.