Turning Gaming Into Good

Survivors of the Nepal earthquake take shelter.

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Zynga and Direct Relief transform online connections into real-life assistance to those affected by the earthquake in Nepal

100% of donations for Nepal will be used for the earthquake response. Thank you, Farmville Players!

In response to the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Nepal that caused tragic loss of life, widespread injuries, and massive damage, Direct Relief is mobilizing life-saving medical aid to help the people affected the earthquake.  Direct Relief is also making an initial cash commitment of $500,000 for the immediate deployment of emergency medical response personnel and essential health commodities.  Direct Relief’s emergency response team is working in Nepal, assessing the urgent health needs and managing the distribution of medical aid to healthcare partners.

Direct Relief supports on an ongoing basis several Nepal-based hospitals, delivery centers, midwifery programs and other partner organizations involved in health-service delivery, and is working to provide these healthcare partners with critically needed medicines and supplies.

The initial United Nation’s situation report today on the emergency stated that, “In Kathmandu Valley, hospitals are overcrowded, running out of room for storing dead bodies and also running short of emergency supplies. BIR hospital is treating people in the streets. There are reports that the hospital stocks are depleting/used up and there is a need for a government decision on bringing kits from the military.”  The report also noted that the majority of people are staying outside their residences because of fear of aftershocks.

Anticipating Challenges

To anticipate the potential needs and obstacles that may be faced in the response to this crisis in Nepal, Direct Relief is drawing on its experience responding to the devastating earthquake that struck Kashmir in northern Pakistan in 2008. The current crisis, like that in Kashmir in 2008, will be characterized by the hugely complex logistical challenge of responding to the unfolding emergency in both cities and remote mountainous rural villages. In this way, the emergency response will be centralized in severely affected urban centres, while simultaneously decentralized in remote and inaccessible rural villages.

The high altitude and mountainous terrain, the damage to road infrastructure caused by landslides, the lack of landing access to both fixed-wing and rotary wing aircraft in remote areas, the damage to communication lines, and the distances between affected communities will combine to increase the complexity of any emergency response.

Recognizing the complexity of the situation, Direct Relief is coordinating with local organizations that understand local needs, have relevant expertise, or are otherwise best positioned to inform external assistance.  Such groups include the following:

Direct Relief notes that its initial commitment of $500,000 is from its general funds, regardless of whether the organization receives contributions designated for this particular event.  Moreover, consistent with the obligation to honor donors’ intentions,  100% of any and all contributions designated for Nepal by donors will be used exclusively for this purpose, not for the organization’s general support or other program activities.

To support Direct Relief’s response, Zynga games have come together to offer players the opportunity to contribute to the relief efforts while playing their favorite games.