The disaster has overall affected a population of 8 million of which 1 million are children.
The survivors are, of course, in desperate need of aid, including food, shelter and water. Rescue teams, medics and individual volunteers from all over the world are flooding Nepal to help out with the relief work – and many more plan to arrive.
There is a general perception that the more manpower there is available in such cases, the faster help reaches to more people in need of it. While the approach is not entirely incorrect, it could, as has been observed in the past, prove to be counterproductive.
In 2010, when a similar catastrophe hit Haiti – a nation with economic conditions almost similar to Nepal – people headed there in droves to lend a hand. It was, no doubt, a heartwarming gesture of solidarity; however, it soon became clear that the misdirected compassion of well-meaning volunteers did more harm than good.
Since there was a lack of resources, unskilled and novice aid workers became a burden. Even professional medical teams, for that matter, who came uninvited, had to turn to non-governmental groups for their own sustenance.
To avoid a similar chaos in Nepal, people hoping to help need to send aid – it's simple, experts say. Send money.
Slate's Jessica Alexander writes: "Sending clothes, bottles of water and teddy bears is ineffective (these donations go unused because they’re not what people want or need), inefficient (it costs a lot of time and money to ship and unload this stuff that could be better spent helping people), and hurts the local economy (it puts the people there out of business). What's needed is money for reputable agencies."
The Guardian's Claire Bennett suggests the same thing, stating it's better to donate money than sending out secondhand goods.
"More than your plane ticket or your collection of old T-shirts, what is most needed in Nepal right now is money. Donate what you can, to a reputable relief organization, and do research to find out where your money will go. If you can, compare a few organizations with aid appeals and ensure that you agree with their approach," she states.
Also, since there is just one international airport for the entire country, Bennett notes, it needs to be kept free for incoming aid for the victims.
Of course, planned distribution of supplies and reconstruction is equally essential. For that, professional rescue teams are continuously coming in from countries – to name a few – including India, Japan, China, Pakistan, Israel and the United States.
Meanwhile, all those who want to help can make donations through Save the Children, Care.org, Oxfam, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Doctors Without Borders, Team Rubicoan, AmeriCares, Kids of Kathmandu and United Airlines.