THE EARTHQUAKES IN NEPAL, LIKE WITH SO MANY natural disasters, are devastating and frustrating to watch on social media: devastating in the sheer scale of the catastrophe, and frustrating in the sense that it is hard to know how one can effectively help. This has been a problem with all disasters during the social media age: it’s super easy to give money, but it’s really hard to know which agencies and non-profits will actually be able to help, and which agencies are either inefficient or worse, corrupt.
One of the ways people are helping to combat this problem on social media is through the Nepal Photo Project, which is using Facebook and Instagram to help give the public reliable information on the ongoing disaster in Nepal, while simultaneously pointing them in the direction of places where they can help.
"The monastery was over 200 years old, it has survived the last quake!" – Gyalpo Shangpo ( a local resident who lost his three story house adjacent to the monastery) . District: Sindupalchowk, Country: Nepal, 4th May 2015: A lama conducts a Buddhist prayer meeting praying for peace and ressurecton from this quake at their broken monastry in Baruwa. The higher the villages the more the destruction and losses. The toll of the 7.8 Richter scale eathquake has offically crossed 7000. Photo by @prashanthvishwanathan #onassignment #nepalquake #nepalphotoproject @careorg
Another extremely important function of the Nepal Photo Project is that it’s helping to keep the catastrophe in the public’s eye in the weeks after the quake initially happened. It’s an important function, especially in a world where attention from the media really only lasts if there is a Presidential election or a missing plane.
A woman walks through the rubble of houses in the village of Barpak in Gorkha. Once a picturesque village in Manaslu trekking route, it has now been turned into the pile of rubbles. It will take months just to clear the debris says locals Barpak was the epicenter of April 25 earthquake. More than 1200 houses have been destroyed in the village of Barpak in Gorkha. Photo by @kishorksg #earthquake #nepal #barpak #gorkha #nepalearthquake #nepalphotoproject
The project is totally crowdsourced, which makes it particularly effective in terms of getting images from all over the affected regions of Nepal. Contributors can e-mail their photos along with informative captions to the page, and they are then posted for the public.
One of the additional benefits of Nepal Photo Project is that it offers a platform for many Nepalese to tell their stories surrounding the quake, which has as of this writing killed upwards of 8,000 people.
Ratna Maya Prajapati, 95, was at home when the earthquake shook the nation on the 25th of April. As someone who also experienced the devastating earthquake of 1932, she recalls that there were more casualties then. She explains she lost 4 of her family members in 1932 but the damage to the buildings weren't as severe as it is now. Nikosera, Bhaktapur. Photo by @shikharbhattarai #nepalphotoproject #nepalearthquake #nepal #earthquake #histories
The Nepal Photo Project is a particularly good example of how we can use social media to help people in times of crisis. Check them out and give them a follow.
Year 2, Day 21: This Tamang baby is hitching a ride 4hrs back up the mountain on top of the aid supplies her mom received from the Nepal Grassroots Recovery team. Sindupalchowk, Nepal 5/8/15. Photo by @travelin_stiles #365travelpics #travelphotos #nepal #nepalearthquake #sindupalchowk #tamang #nepalgrassrootsrecovery #nepalphotoproject #hitchhiking
Despite heavy rain – a reminder of monsoon times to come – residents of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley started the long process of rebuilding today. The area is known for its brick factories – each offering a selection of designs carved into the orange clay. The price of bricks has already gone up 5 rupees a brick…with more price hikes a certainty in the coming weeks. Papi and Neravan unload new bricks at the Khayamali family’s home. Most of the extended family’s homes were destroyed 2 weeks ago when “The Great Earthquake” hit, and they’ve decided to rebuild this one house, where, for now, they will all live and start anew. As I write these words the sky’s stomach is grumbling like it hasn’t eaten in days. Each roll of thunder sets the neighbourhood dogs off, and makes me uneasy. I expect each clap to be accompanied by the rumble of an aftershock. It’s not supposed to be raining – but the gods obviously have other plans. I’m glad the Khayamali family have a half-built house to shelter in tonight – and my heart bleeds for those in tents, where the water was already shin deep when I left this afternoon. Photo by @samreinders #nepal #nepalearthquake #nepalphotoproject #kathmandu #bhaktapur #journal #rain #monsoon #thunder #bricks
" We have swellings all over our bodies sleeping in the cold, we need tents". Monju Bal, Thulimaya, and Pancha Maya share a joke after receiving relief material from volunteers of @careorg. Shelter is the need of the hour. A survivor told me " we have chow chow we need shelter from the upcoming rain.” Photo by @prashanthvishwanathan #nepalphotoproject #nepalearthquake #nepal #nallu #care