A First-Person Account of Surviving the Earthquake in Nepal

Why we need the World Humanitarian Summit next year.

Longreads

Because the area is full of Buddhists, most people stayed positive and were not shocked by the realization that death is inevitable. The earthquake was actually a great Buddhist teaching that everything is an illusion and things are never as they seem to be. Like a rope on the ground can be mistaken for a snake, as a reflection of the moon in a mud puddle is not the actual moon, the ground and the buildings that we live in are not as safe and immoveable as we may think. This is a disturbing revelation that can be very unsettling especially while the earth kept moving for days. The Buddha also said “all component things are destined to fall apart.” Of course, we can all die at any moment, but I think we are all afraid to suffer a painful death crushed by fallen buildings or to be trapped for…

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The World Humanitarian Summit, and why it matters so much.

I shop at Primark. I don’t always buy Fair Trade products. I donate mere pennies to the charity pots I cross, if anything at all. Does this make me a bad person?

Moral principles come at a cost nowadays and, like the majority of people I know, I find it difficult to afford being a generous person. However, what I lack in money, I more than make up for in my passion for the greater good, which I try to exercise through vegetarianism and some fairly unwelcome rants and heated debates.

Some see me as argumentative and over sensitive; if people chose to see me that way then that’s okay as long as I have made my point and defended those who are indefensible against the plights they face daily. For this very reason, I have chosen to become a Digital Advocate for The World Humanitarian Summit which will take place in Istanbul in May 2016. You can find out more about it here, but I will attempt to summarise it.

In light of the past three years’ disasters specifically, both man-made and natural, Ban Ki-Moon has decided to hold The World Humanitarian Summit in order to try to resolve these issues, and perhaps #ReShapeAid into something much more effective. My job as a Digital Advocate is to, obviously, advocate this cause and raise issues which may be discussed in online forums, Facebook groups etc. I may be one small, seemingly uninfluential person, but I know I now have the opportunity to at least try to make a difference, however small, to those less fortunate than myself.

In the build up to the General Election which took place this Thursday, Nigel Farage (UKIP Leader, for those outside of the UK) expressed his desire to reduce foreign aid if he were to get into power. Fortunately, he was ridiculed for his selfishness but I’m sad to say he does have one valid point on the matter: we should not send money over to corrupt countries. The money, more often than not, becomes “lost” within governmental funds and never reaches the victims. However, as was demonstrated in the rubble left behind by the Nepal earthquake, the humanitarian aid we provide as a country (and yes, I know it’s not just us) is absolutely essential. I am proud to belong to such a selfless country, and that is not something I can often say…mainly because patriotism is somewhat taboo over here, but I believe there are times we can be proud, and openly so. When I see our troops relentlessly dig for survivors beneath all the destruction, no matter how difficult it is, I am assured that our foreign aid is simply indispensable.

Due to the recent immigration disaster, which caused the deaths of hundred of people, a meeting was formed to discuss how we deal with illegal immigration of those in fear of their lives at home…but it shouldn’t take such a disaster to realise that things need to change. In the following news reports, I saw one particular image which really struck me as inhumane. All the bodies had been put into coffins, which is the correct way to treat them…however, instead of names on the coffins, they were simply numbered. The number I saw, and will never forget, was Body Number 131. What if Body Number 131 was my mum, dad, or brother? There will be many bereaved families wondering which of those bodies is their mother, father, cousin, child…and that hurts. People often say that not knowing is worse than knowing the worst, and Body Number 131 was only amongst the first of those who died…there are many more unnamed coffins from that one disaster, and many more from others. People should be people, not statistics.

Aid is essential, but it needs to change; it’s good, but it can be much better if the world’s powers come together to resolve them, and discuss the issues raised by those who care. Hopefully, The World Humanitarian Summit will be one giant leap in this path to  improvement.

I implore you to look into this, if only briefly. The world could do with much less apathy.

Thoughtful reading,

Carenza x