Give to Nepal, but with caution

The Nepal earthquake has set into motion a series of events, even as tremors continue to rattle the people of the region and rescuers struggle with numbers. In this age of instant coffee, instant communication, instant comment and instant criticism, come the instant charity efforts.

With numbers of fatalities still swelling and fear of landslides imminent, several charity organisations have started pressing social media buttons, setting up relief pages and urging people to contribute to help the victims in different ways.

The intentions behind all these efforts are noteworthy and quite sterling. It is up to us to find a stirring of our conscience and do what we can to help those affected by the earthquake. Those who have lost everything material resources and family are, of course, the most vulnerable. Then are those who need medical help. The road to rehabilitation will be long and arduous, Rome was not built in a day and Kathmandu and parts of India, and most importantly, lives, will surely not be rebuilt in a day.

Yet one has to be wary of the slew of relief efforts that seem to have sprung up in. All Good Samaritans need to double-check the credibility of these organisations which claim to help in the relief effort. Try to check backgrounds, ask questions, ask to be connected to others who donate and if one can see if the largesse is reaching the intended persons. This, of course, is not to suggest that every organisation is a sham or cheats people in different ways. There will be credible set-ups which ensure that all help reaches the correct persons.

Yet, a bit of scepticism on the part of the donors would help. Scepticism is different from blanket cynicism, which casts doubt on every effort. Unfortunately those who have shamed charity by cheating people in previous relief efforts have made it harder for organisations to win the trust of givers.

In the end, do give with heart and soul but make some effort to see that it goes to the proper channels. Easier said than done, but there is no excuse for not trying.

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