Mark Zuckerberg thanks Facebook community for contributing to Nepal earthquake fund

Picture courtesy: Facebook newsroom
Picture courtesy: Facebook newsroom

At a time when questions are beginning to pop up about the way Nepal earthquake funds are being used, or not used, Facebook has set an example of accountability and transparency by updating the world on how it is spending the millions of dollars the social media giant raised following the catastrophic events of April 25.

More than 770,000 people from 175 countries answered Facebook’s call for help after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated a large part of the South Asian nation. The massive online campaign raked in US $15.5 million within a week.

As it had promised while announcing the philanthropic campaign, Faceboook topped up the donations with its own contribution of US $2 million bringing the total fund to US$ 17.5 million.

Now, Facebook has released a statement and a video to tell the world how it is spending the money to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of victims.

Naomi Gleit, Facebook’s VP of Product Management, said in a statement that the fund put together by the generous contribution of the global Facebook community has helped Medical Corps provide medical assistance and daily essentials to victims in Gorkha, Dhading and other remote areas.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg presents the Facebook video on Nepal earthquake campaign.

To mark the six month anniversary of the disaster, Facebook has released the video in which Mr Zuckerberg thanks the world for helping his organisation help Nepal.

Below text from Ms Gleit’s statement sums up how Facebook’s partnership with Medical Corp has played a crucial role in rendering reaching out to needy people in the most remote corners of a the Himalayan nation:

Restoring health care systems
Nearly 450 health facilities were completely destroyed during the earthquakes. Another 700 were partially damaged. By operating mobile and static rehab facilities and rebuilding damaged facilities, International Medical Corps provided medical care, training and supplies that helped more than 150,000 people.

Preventing disease
During the monsoon season, International Medical Corps’ Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) team focused on interventions critical to help prevent the spread of communicable diseases, particularly as rains took their toll on people staying in damaged shelter or outdoors. To date, International Medical Corps has built 798 emergency latrines and 224 hand washing stations in communities, as well as in sites for displaced men, women and children.

Helping families meet nutrition needs
International Medical Corps supplied small cash grants of $75 to 5,656 families who lost everything during the earthquakes. These grants helped each family access urgent supplies like food, cooking oils and materials for temporary shelter. An additional 6,960 families benefitted from the distribution of 1,392 healthy family kits that included rice, lentils, blankets, mosquito nets and hygiene supplies. Another 12,701 families received tools and seeds for future harvests.

Addressing mental health needs
International Medical Corps and its local partners, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Nepal and Integrated Community Development Campaign, are ensuring that the long term mental health needs of people affected by the two major earthquakes and more than 350 aftershocks over a 4.0 magnitude are addressed. To date, more than 567 first responders have been trained in psychological first aid.

Protecting women
By partnering with local organization Women’s Rehabilitation Center, International Medical Corps granted 268,388 women and girls access to services set up to address gender-based violence and reproductive health through the creation of 10 female safe spaces in two of the most earthquake-affected districts.

An additional matching grant of $2 million from Facebook was used to fund local organizations in Nepal — Give2Asia, in partnership with Facebook, is distributing these funds to support ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts like restoring electricity to rural areas, building semi-permanent shelters and classrooms to replace damaged schools, providing psychosocial training for teachers, and providing improved construction training to crews rebuilding across Nepal.

This week, everyone who donated to support Nepal on Facebook will receive a notification which includes a thank-you video. We want to show people what their donations provided by introducing them to some of the people they helped and the heroes they enabled, like Amir Thapa, who joined International Medical Corps’ WASH team just a few days after the earthquake hit. Amir has since become a full-time International Medical Corps staff member and because of the funds raised by the Facebook community, his work has helped International Medical Corps make a difference for more than 210,000 people after the earthquake and has kept outbreaks of deadly diseases, like cholera, from growing in Nepal.

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