When any unfortunate natural disaster takes place in the countries where ActionAid works, ActionAid’s makes it a mandate to respond to the disaster immediately. The team that does it is called EFAST. This Emergency First Action Support Team is comprised of a pool of experienced and skilled ActionAid staff from across the ActionAid Federation spread in over 45 countries. As practised, the EFAST members, tied to different areas of humanitarian intervention as per their expertise, are deployed in short notice to assist with emergency support.
Nepal experienced two earthquakes so big that jolted the entire nation. Against all adversity from day Zero, ActionAid sprang to action. We started by taking stock of our human resources on the ground and the family members and then, after assurance that all of them were okay, the team immediately moved into humanitarian response with food and non-food items. ActionAid’s own Disaster Preparedness and Response Fund (DPRF) was released immediately which helped take the initial response to the most affected communities.
I was given a 72 hour notice to report in Nepal by June 1. So I did. My role as EFAST member was to support the urgent fundraising process in order to expand the humanitarian response, a phase in which I came to experience a coordinated fundraising process for emergencies. The international humanitarian funding agencies and umbrella organisations such as DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee), AGIRE (Agenzia Italiana Risposta alle Emergenze), RRF (DFID’s Rapid Response Fund) were accessed immediately. ActionAid in the UK, USA, Greece and Italy reached out to their supporters who made immediate and very effective donations. Individual donors from the neighbouring countries like Myanmar and Thailand also contributed.
ActionAid Nepal devised a clear strategy of what to do, and who our target group were and how many of the affected communities we needed to reach out to. This led to a clear forecast of how much funding was necessary. We made that our target and everyone acted upon it. We raised enough to support the short-term response and focused on raising the fund required for the long -term recovery of the affected communities.
The sincerity and willingness of the AA Nepal staffs were remarkable in every aspect; they were working relentlessly from day zero without taking a single day off, with the urge was to support their country to get back on its feet. I am proud to have been a part of this will, this endeavour. I hope Nepal rises fast!