Katie Bascuas is an associate editor at Associations Now in Washington, DC.
After two devastating earthquakes hit Nepal this spring, leaving thousands injured and crumbling the country's infrastructure, associations from around the globe stepped in to help with recovery efforts.
When disaster struck Nepal, associations there and around the world swung into action.
The 7.9-magnitude earthquake that hit the country in April left more than 7,000 people dead and more than 14,000 injured, and it created catastrophic damage to the Southeast Asian country's cities and villages. Three weeks later, a second quake hit, adding to the destruction and death toll.
Here's how a handful of groups called on their members' expertise to help in the recovery process:
The Internet Society Nepal helped to restore internet access and electricity by donating connection equipment to Nepal police. The group, which is a chapter of the Internet Society and has been working on internet-related projects in Nepal since 2007, donated chargers, inverters, solar panels, and batteries to help support rescue efforts.
The International Network of Crisis Mappers, a group of tech-savvy volunteers who use social media, satellite imagery, and other types of digital data to aid in disaster response and recovery, helped coordinate a group of volunteers who created digital maps and Google docs indicating areas where help was needed. Volunteers could, for example, parse social media posts to determine that a village needed blankets, pinpoint various locations where people were stranded, or determine the identities of some of the missing.
Just days after the first quake, the American Society of Nepalese Engineers, along with the American Nepal Medical Foundation and the Computer Association of Nepal-USA, released a position paper detailing the challenges Nepal would face as a result of a large-magnitude earthquake as well as several recommendations to help minimize destruction and loss. Despite its release just after the quake, the paper's recommendations are useful and provide an overview of the status of earthquake preparedness in Nepal. The groups wrote: "We hope this paper will contribute to needed discussions on future efforts of preparedness."
Together, the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Outdoor Industry Association launched AdventureWeek Rebound Nepal to help rebuild one of the country's largest sources of revenue: tourism. The trip was created for tour operators, travel agents, media, and industry experts with experience in destination recovery so they could provide strategy and support around reinvigorating Nepal's adventure tourism industry.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Disaster Relief."]