A massive 7.5 earthquake hit Afghanistan on Monday, October 26, 2015 with major effects felt in Pakistan and throughout the region. Over 300 deaths have already been reported and many more are expected. Foundation Source client foundations are leaders in the response to natural disasters and emergencies. As you prepare to make a grant to help support the recovery effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan, here are some considerations:
- Just days after the earthquake, emergency response organizations are still conducting needs assessments and determining what the greatest needs on the ground are. Identify a couple of trusted resources and follow the developments of this crisis on their websites.
- As with most natural disasters—and particularly those that occur outside of the United States—nearly all relief agencies request cash contributions rather than in-kind donations. Financial support allows knowledgeable organizations to deploy resources in the best, most efficient possible manner without creating an additional logistics demand. In-kind contributions can sometimes place an unintended burden on those organizations when storing, shipping, and disseminating those items becomes a job in and of itself.
- Watch for the needs of this emergency as they unfold over time. Our first instinct is to send funds now in the crisis phase. Consider an initial grant that is followed up by additional assistance down the line when the mid- and long term consequences are being felt by the affected communities.
- Addressing the needs of international emergencies offer a choice to U.S.-based private foundations. Local organizations can be identified and funds can be sent directly to those entities, but keep in mind that several steps will be required to give a grant to a non-U.S. agency. Consider organizations that may have a presence in the affected region, but have headquarters or “friends of” offices in the U.S. to ease grantmaking processes.
Here is a list of leading relief agencies. Some have already posted updates about the earthquake and their responses; others are still formulating their plans.
- CARE (http://www.care.org/newsroom/press/press-releases/powerful-earthquake-may-worsen-humanitarian-crisis-afghanistan)
- Catholic Relief Services (http://www.crs.org/media-center/afghanistan-pakistan-earthquake-crs-response)
- International Medical Corps (https://internationalmedicalcorps.org/update_afghanistan_pakistan_earthquake)
- International Rescue Committee (http://www.rescue.org/blog/irc-teams-afghanistan-and-pakistan-poised-respond-massive-earthquake)
- Lutheran World Relief (http://lwr.org/)
- Medical Teams International (http://www.medicalteams.org/)
- Mercy Corps (http://www.mercycorps.org/articles/afghanistan-india-pakistan-tajikistan/deadly-earthquake-strikes-northeastern-afghanistan)
- Oxfam America (http://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/stories/major-earthquake-rocks-afghanistan-pakistan/)
- Save the Children http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6115947/k.8D6E/Official_Site.htm)
- UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/media/media_85935.html)
- World Vision (http://www.worldvision.org/news-stories-videos/earthquake-afghanistan-pakistan-india)
Photo credit: The New York Times, U.S.G.S.