Many sports and outdoor companies have committed donations to the relief efforts organized by several organizations for the survivors of the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on Apr. 25, causing more than 8,000 deaths and depriving the remaining population of houses, food and water. Some isolated villages were particularly affected. Another major earthquake was reported near Kathmandu around one pm yesterday, killing at last 60 people and injuring more than 1,500 others.
The knitting facilities of Sherpa Adventure Gear, the manufacturer of clothing and accessories, which are located in the valley of Kathmandu, escaped the first earthquake, except for a wall in the main building. The second earthquake hit their outer structures, but apparently there were again no casualties among the workers, many of whom operate out of their homes.
As some of the workers lost their ancestral or rented homes, and many others have been involved in the relief efforts, Sherpa Adventure Gear told its clients on May 5 that they should expect a delay in shipments of six to eight weeks. The company is accelerating earlier plans to transfer some of the manufacturing process to two other villages in Nepal, training the local people, while looking for other factories in the mid-western plains of the country. Meanwhile, it is using some of the blankets it has in stock to make simple tents for the survivors.
Sherpa Adventure Gear has also asked retailers to set up special “charity boxes” in their stores for donations by the customers. After the first earthquake, it announced the establishment of a fund to collect at least $30,000. It has a already received funds or commitments for more than $110,000, including £20,000 (€27,750-$31,400) coming from the company's European distributor, Bradshaw Taylor.
The company said that all the money collected through this specific earthquake relief fund, “Help Sherpas Help Nepal,” would be dedicated to direct relief efforts through the company's existing network in villages where the company supports the education of sherpas' children.
In one of his first messages from Kathmandu after the first earthquake, Tashi Sherpa, founder and chief executive of the company, said that the survivors were most in need of water, tents and medical care. Sherpa Adventure Gear and its colleagues have arranged for immediate supplies of tarps, water purifiers, sanitary supplies and more from India.
Columbia Sportswear and its brands, including Mountain Hardwear, have donated $50,000 to Mercy Corps and other non-profit organizations. The company has also decided to match any donations made by its employees for the Nepal relef effort without any limits. Furthermore, it has committed to donate specific products to relevant relief providers as soon as the situation on the ground allows it.
Keen said it would match every dollar raised through the Keen Mercy Corps donation website up to a level of $10,000. The company is a founding member of Mercy's Disaster Response Corps. It has donated more than $150,000 wince 2013 to help Mercy Corps to respond immediately when a disaster strikes.
While continuing with the provision of fuel-efficient burning stoves in cooperation with Envirofit, the Himalayan Stove Project said it was sourcing helicopters and tents from India and elsewhere to aid the people in the more remove villages. Its blog said it had raised over $30,000 in the first two weeks, adding that much more is needed.
The Himalayan Stove Project said it was switching from Pay Pal to Stripe for the collection of direct donations, because of technical problems. It reminded readers that Amazon makes donations to the project from purchases made on its Amazon Smile page.
Several other sports and outdoor-related organizations, including the German Sporting Goods Industry Federation (BSI) and the American Himalayan Foundation, have contributed to the relief efforts in different ways.
After an extensive debate at a board meeting last week, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (Eoca) decided against proposals to coordinate an effort to raise funds for disaster relief in Nepal from the European outdoor industry, as it is not a relief organization and has no experience in this area. On the other hand, it decided that it would spend on the relief effort the balance of the money allocated to one of its projects in Nepal. Eoca said it was also willing to direct members to some organizations involved in relief work.
Frankly, Nepal is undergoing a cruel destiny. It was almost exactly one year ago that a group of sherpas was killed from a tragic avalanche on Mount Everest, leading to the cancellation of the annual Everest climbing season.
Eoca is concerned about the future of Nepal. “Following the immediate crisis, we suspect that there will be an even greater need for projects in the medium to long term which address both conservation issues and supporting the economic well being of local communities,” the association said in a statement today. “Deforestation may well be a major problem for example due to rebuilding works. Ecotourism projects which benefit the local environment and communities for example may be even more valuable in the future. This is an area where EOCA can play a vital role and we will welcome such applications in the future, to support Nepal in the medium and long term.”