Nepal: Grassroots Initiatives to Meet Earthquake Crisis, and Bypass Corrupt International Agencies

VOW_InitiativeFor immediate assistance and relief, VOW Media has set up a fund that we are managing independently. All financial records will be published online and it will be completely transparent. With the funds we collect, we will buy essential items, support older and form new citizen volunteer groups to assist and provide relief to survivors of the Nepal Earthquake. These groups will organise themselves and go out to neighbourhoods and various districts to distribute immediate relief.

In addition to distribution of relief materials we will also be assisting in the rebuilding of people’s homes once we have enough funds to do it. If there is anything in particular you would want your precious resources to be spent on, you can also let us know and we will make sure the money gets spent in the community you want.

Remember people, we will not take ONE single dime of the money you have donated to the relief and reconstruction fund. It will all be accounted for and spent wisely to support people in need.

You can transfer the money into our Dutch Bank Account to avoid all the bureaucracy in Nepal or send it via paypal:

Please direct payment to:

VOICES OF WOMEN MEDIA
ING # 4690420
BIC: INGBNL2A
IBAN: NL72INGB0004690420
PayPal Account: info@voicesofwomenmedia.org

Please write “Nepal” in the bank transfer details so we can track it easily.

Rural Nepal Angry With Slow Aid: More Than 70,000 Houses Destroyed: 2.8 Million People Displaced

By Countercurrents.org, 30 April, 2015

Anger, frustration and tension are growing in parts of rural Nepal over the slow pace of relief efforts. Kathmandu also found protests over bus arrangement for going back to rural homes. Badly-affected villages are yet to receive any assistance. Survivors broke into government offices in Dolakha district to demand relief supplies. Survivors confronted prime minister Sushil Koirala in a Kathmandu hospital. There are long queues for food and water around Kathmandu.

Official death figure during afternoon of 30 April 2015 reached more than 5,500 people, and injured at least 11,000. Only 14 survivors have been saved from the rubble till now.

Media reports said:

Nepal’s prime minister Sushil Koirala was confronted by survivors desperate for relief deliveries when he visited a hospital in Kathmandu. Many survivors gathered in front of the prime minister to request to water, food and tents.

About 200 people blocked traffic in Kathmandu after many faced huge queues for free bus rides out of the city. The protesters confronted police and there were minor scuffles. But no arrests were made. Continue reading

Haitian Lessons to Warn Nepalese: Beware Disaster Capitalists in Humanitarian Clothes

[As the horrifying death toll continues to fise to many thousands, amid the collapse of much of the home, business, and cultural structures in Nepal — the result of milleniums of colonial domination, oppression, and plunder — the enormous need for international rescue and reconstruction is a plaintive appeal to the good intentions of people everywhere.  But the aid will come with many conditions by the powers who bear gifts.  It is instructive to study the experience of the “aid” and “recovery” of Haiti from the devastating earthquake of 2010.  The US turned Haitian earthquake aid into neo-colonial, militarized occupation.  The struggles of people to control their own recovery has been an ongoing fight in Haiti, and now in Nepal.  The following except from a chapter in the important new book Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Humanitarian Imperialism makes this Haitian experience hauntingly present in the streets of Kathmandu today.  —  Frontlines ed.]

US Imperialism and Disaster Capitalism in Haiti 

Keir Forgie, from Maximilian Forte’s new book: Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Humanitarian Imperialism
 At 4:53 PM, on Monday, January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shocked Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It was the most devastating earthquake the country had experienced in over 200 years, with estimated infrastructure damage between $8 and $14 billion (Donlon, 2012, p. vii; Farmer, 2011, p. 54). This is particularly astounding considering that Haiti is recognized as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 70% of individuals surviving on less than $2 US per day (Farmer, 2011, p. 60). The quake’s epicentre was located 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, which is the most heavily populated area in all of Haiti (Donlon, 2012, p. vii). Approximately three million Haitians, one third of the country’s population, live in Port-au-Prince and every single individual was affected by the disaster: the Haitian government reported 230,000 deaths, 300,600 injured persons, and between 1.2 to 2 million displaced people (Donlon, 2012, p. vii). The country presented a “blank slate,” with all manner of political, economic, and social services in absolute ruin—an ideal circumstance to exercise the arms of the new (US) imperialism: notably, NGOs, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the militarization of humanitarian aid, and disaster capitalism.
US hegemonic globalization is the current world order—it is the new imperialism. The breadth of US influence across the globe in terms of politics, economics, and military are unparalleled across history, affording the nation the means to orchestrate geopolitics in its favor through coercion, masked by rhetorical altruism (Moselle, 2008, pp. 1, 8). However, the US is currently challenged by a state of economic decline and shifting international relations. In an effort to maintain its dominant position, the US must implement a number of novel strategies. As such, the “new imperialism” is distinguished by certain contemporary characteristics: notably, war in the pursuit of dwindling natural resources, the militarization of the social sciences, war corporatism, the romanticization of imperialism, and as a central focus to this paper, the framing of military interventions as “humanitarian,” legitimized through rhetoric of freedom, democracy, and the right to intervene. In truth, the militarization of humanitarian aid serves to facilitate the imposition of neoliberal economic policies through the exploitation of weakened states—a
strategy known as “disaster capitalism”.

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