Sending Nepal Earthquake Relief Complicated For Ga. Agencies

Getting supplies into Nepal isn’t easy.

Several Georgia relief agencies have the job right now of trying to figure out how to get help to those who need it most.  

Habitat for Humanity is getting ready to send about 20,000 emergency shelter kits to the region, said Mario Flores, director of disaster response field operations. He said the organization already has 40 staff members living in Nepal and are sending support teams.

But Flores says Habitat can’t send the shelter kits right away. First, the agency is assessing the needs and damage, and working with the local government and other aid agencies.

“It has to be a coordinated effort, because we want to avoid, at all times, duplication and we also want to avoid leaving people without assistance,” Flores said.

He said that process can take three to four days, and, without coordination, there can be duplication of services.  

That’s partly what happened in Haiti in 2010, when thousands of people went to help after the earthquake without coordination.

“It’s a little bit like when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” said Dabney Evans, director of the Center for Humanitarian Emergencies at Emory University.

“It’s not as simple as just putting a palate of supplies on an airplane or helicopter and distributing them,” she said.

She said some places, for example, are only accessible by helicopter.

“We need to again think about what kind of supplies we’re bringing to people and making sure we’re getting the right things to the right places,” Evans said.