Earthquake destruction in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Courtesy U.S. Department of State, Natalie Hawwa

The aftershocks of the 2015 Himalayan earthquake not only devastated Nepal, but Nepali communities worldwide. Boulder residents, both of Nepali backgrounds and not, held a vigil in front of the Boulder County Courthouse days after the tragic event. The goal of the gathering was to send a simple and straightforward message: The Boulder community stands with you.

USAID DART member speaks to residents to help find trapped people after Nepal earthquake. Courtesy U.S. State Department
USAID DART member speaks to residents to help find trapped people after Nepal earthquake. Courtesy U.S. State Department

As Boulder County saw firsthand after the 2013 flood, the road back to normalcy requires patience and continued assistance, beyond the immediate rush that follows the disaster. In these early stages, many people feel impelled to go and help—but, without financial backing and a clear mission, too many bodies can hurt more than help. A better course of action is to donate to well-established, trustworthy charities that already have a ground presence in the disaster area.

The regional group Rocky Mountain Friends of Nepal is collecting funds to be transferred to Nepal through the Red Cross, while Boulder-based Helping Hands Nepal, which provides rural Nepal with medical support and education, is working to provide free medical care in its hospitals and clinics. Helping Hands has sent doctors’ groups and supplies into the Kathmandu area, and will be working to rebuild its school in the eastern part of Nepal. To donate to Helping Hands’ efforts, visit www.helpinghandsusa.org.

Other vetted charities with large forces on the ground are UNICEF, CARE, Direct Relief, Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam. Whenever you give, be sure to research the actual relief efforts of the charity, using tools such as Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org), Guidestar (www.guidestar.org) or Charitywatch (www.charitywatch.org).

–Eli Wallace