We are quite simply heartbroken watching the devastation unfold in a country whose people we care so much about. However, history shows that the Nepalese people are amongst the strongest and most resilient on earth and they will recover from this. Along with many of our friends, Michael Hess from the NOH posted very early to say that all the children and staff were safe.
Many of our online customers, friends, people we trade with here in the UK and yoga students have asked if they can donate through us to ensure that 100% of their donation will directly reach the people of Nepal. All of our many contacts in Nepal have given the same message - please don't donate your money to any funds that are controlled by the Nepalese Government.
The Government has just introduced restrictions requiring all donors to seek official permission to open bank accounts for the provision of aid and is prohibiting the withdrawal of any relief funds from both new and existing bank accounts. All money deposited will be automatically redirected to the Prime Minister Natural Disaster Relief Fund. Apart from the unnecessary bureaucracy, always a well known source of delays in every area of Nepali life, the opportunities this affords unscrupulous politicians and civil servants to siphon off the money through corrupt practices is unlimited.
More and more of the media coverage confirms there is a red tape bottleneck at Nepal's only airport and there are reports that some of the aid convoys coming in by truck through the land borders are having to pay tax on the relief goods being brought in. Whilst emergency relief agencies are finally reaching some of the rural towns and villages, the majority of the relief work is being achieved by the Nepalese Army, the Police and by local relief efforts. The UN's first planeload of emergency aid finally arrived in Kathmandu on the 1 May having been forced to wait in Doha for two days.
Throughout all our Nepali friends have shown such strength and their calm, resolute determination to recover from this and to rebuild their nation is deeply moving. We are equally determined that Santosa will continue to be able to buy from them as soon as they are able to trade again and to continue to be there as one of their customers.
Thank you for the support you have already shown Nepal by being one of our customers over the last five years. With much hope for the future of Nepal,
Janis and Ian