Want to help volunteer in Nepal earthquake relief and help make a difference?
Here are some things you can do to volunteer in Nepal/Northern India and be more successful before even leaving home.
1.) By prevailing law in Nepal, you are not allowed to do volunteering on a tourist visa. In order to volunteer legally, the organization which will engage you must procure a permit and respective non-tourist visa. So ask before you travel with a non-profit, church, or on your own.
2.) Consider ways you can help from home. Online. Become a community activist by sharing our guide on social media and get others involved. Volunteer as a Digital Humanitarian and Micromapper for the UN and others ( see guide here). Give – If you can’t give, why spend $1400 on a plane ticket and take the time off work? Besides, locals are much more capable of helping others with that $1400., trust us on this.
If you still plan to go and/or know a need that you can fill:
3.) Update your vaccinations right now. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended vaccinations for anyone leaving for Nepal, as does the CIWEC Clinic in Pokhara, Nepal:
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG) (even if only one dose is possible)
- Hepatitis B (one dose may provide some protection, or an accelerated schedule can help if departure is at least 21 days away)
- Seasonal and H1N1 flu
- Not needed – Yellow Fever
Nepal will need relief aid for years to come, and some of these immunization routines take time. Check with your doctor as soon as you know you will be going, as well as after returning home if you become ill.
4.) Consider downloading the following travel medical apps – http://www.gninsurance.com/medical_apps_for_travel/ and check http://www.gninsurance.com/our-resource-hub/ as well.
5.) Learn to avoid diseases for which there are no immunizations.
Attacks of diarrhea and dehydration is the main risk, through intestinal parasites, amoebic dysentery and giardiasis which are chronic without proper medical treatment as well as life-threatening infections like cholera and typhoid are common. So if you have these while you are in Nepal or for one year afterwards, tell your doctor about your visit to Nepal.
Some good advice is offered on our friend’s page at http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/destinations/asia/nepal.php
Please take special care if you are working with ill or injured victims in Nepal that also includes prevention of the spread of infectious diseases since infection rates are high and expected to jump. Personnel who do not have to deal with human patients or animals should not do so. Hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley are overcrowded and running out of emergency supplies and space to store corpses.
6.) Get good travel insurance. Even the most conscientious relief worker can become sick or injured. With the shortage of medical care in Nepal, the risk of injury or sickness, and likelihood of needing a medical evacuation for any emergency or injury is high. Even in ordinary circumstances, medical evacuation flights are expensive. especially from a remote area like Nepal, if outside the capitol. Emergency travel medical insurance coverage starts as low as $1-$2.00 a day and will guarantee you the care you need while protecting your assets from huge bills in case of an injury while volunteering.
Emergency rescue is another option for those who already have excellent int’l. medical insurance. Global Rescue and Sky Rescue are two we offer. Both cover medical evacuation by helicopter if you become seriously ill or injured there. There are about 100 GlobalRescue clients in the region now.
Inform your embassy or consulate when you arrive about this insurance and contact the number on your medical I.D. card and the embassy if you need evacuation.
7.) Consider your communication options. While the Kathmandu Valley was one of the highest areas for cyber cafes and internet connections – Services have been disrupted and overburdened due to the earthquake, outages, relief efforts and news reportage.
8.) For the rest of this guide see http://www.gninsurance.com/international-crisis-response/nepal-earthquake-relief-2015/. Consider sharing it on social media and get others involved!