In recent months, it has been tougher than normal. Refugees used to receive nine dry food items from the World Food program and the Sahrawi Red Crescent. But since the beginning of the year, due to funding constraints, they only receive seven.
Some 12.2 million people, more than half of the population, are estimated to need humanitarian assistance. A similar number have been displaced -- between 6.5 million and 7.8 million -- within Syria, and three to four million have been displaced on to neighboring states.
When I woke on April 25 to reports of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, my first thoughts turned to the safety of my Nepali-American son's uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. All fine, I soon learned.
What is needed is a global master plan for dealing with emergencies created by natural disasters, because they happen often and all over the globe. Independent organizations and governments should all have to organize and stage their efforts through one agency.
We, in Nepal today, are injured people. We have lost much. But not all. And to heal, we must get in touch with that portion of our lives that is not yet broken. In this, we have much to learn from the Haiti earthquake, where the largest aftershock came eight days after the main earthquake.
Among other research and policy initiatives aimed reducing the maximum volume of suffering for the minimum philanthropic investment, GiveWell is sending mosquito nets to Africa, hoping to save children from malaria.
Even though there are no hard hats or military gear, the atmosphere at the headquarters at Direct Relief is a serious, focused, active, caring, and compassionate place, as I sit with several personnel at their headquarters today in Goleta, CA.
The plight of the Nepalese may slip to the back of your mind and then maybe just become an afterthought before being forgotten altogether. While there is a lot going on in the world, don't forget about Nepal.
It probably isn't a coincidence that we are learning about the benefits of silence and meditation just at the moment that the world is becoming noisier and busier than ever. However, it is one thing to hear this, read this, and know this fundamental truth in an abstract way.
Accountability cannot be achieved without honest, critical, constructive discussion about what is really happening. We must tell the whole, complex, discomforting truth, even if it leads us to conclude that "aid" isn't as helpful as we want to believe it is.
As humanitarian needs persist and even grow in Syria and neighboring countries, the rest of the world must not forget about the crisis. This is a time to be bold. This is not a time for inaction. This is not a time to watch a country be destroyed and generations of Syrians scattered and forgotten.
Far from unmitigated benefit, growth often causes and exacerbates serious mental, physical and environmental problems. Research shows that as wealth increases, so does obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression.
The Syrian conflict, which this month enters its fifth year, shows no sign of easing. Since the start of the crisis in 2011, more than eleven million -- half of the population -- have been forced to flee the fighting and are now displaced inside the country.