Success in Nepal relief won't come cheap

By Michael Igoe 21 May 2015

The people who need relief efforts most after the Nepal earthquake are also the hardest to reach. The aid effort, therefore, will likely be more expensive than comparable disasters. Mark Smith, senior director for humanitarian emergencies at World Vision, explains more in this video interview.

The Nepal earthquake relief operation has been hampered by “choke-points” — the country’s rudimentary road system is a big one — and humanitarian groups are still grappling with the cost of delivering lifesaving supplies to remote regions.

Even for a disaster situation that was long-anticipated, it is impossible to know exactly what challenges responders and donors will face when they arrive on the scene.

Devex spoke with Mark Smith, senior director for humanitarian emergencies at World Vision, to learn how the international relief organization has adapted its plans and logistics to account for the unique trials and tribulations of Nepal’s mountainous crisis.

Smith urged the development community to think carefully before applying cost per beneficiary measures of success to this emergency relief operation. The people who need aid most, Smith pointed out, are the ones who will be most expensive to reach.

Watch the video above for a short teaser of our conversation with Smith, and view this clip for an extended excerpt from our conversation with the disaster relief expert.

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About the author

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Michael Igoe@AlterIgoe

Michael Igoe is a senior correspondent for Devex. Based in Washington, D.C., he covers U.S. foreign aid and emerging trends in international development and humanitarian policy. Michael draws on his experience as both a journalist and international development practitioner in Central Asia to develop stories from an insider's perspective.

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