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Starcom sends team to help Nepal earthquake relief effort, ‘When media hype dies, recovery work continues’

Starcom's earthquake relief team in Nepal

Starcom’s earthquake relief team in Nepal

Starcom MediaVest Group has sent a team to help the recovery effort in Nepal, which is still recovering from a series of massive earthquakes that hit the country in April.

The media agency’s Singapore office sent a six-man team to the village in Besari in Dhading district, a remote area that had not received aid from the government, military or NGOs.

The team, led by Joshua Kwah, director for growth and strategy at Starcom MediaVest Group Singapore, cleared rubble, built shelters and provided medical aid for the hardest hit families who had lost their homes.

Kwah, who also led expeditions to Aceh and Sri Lanka after the tsunami, said: “When the media hype dies, the work of reconstruction continues. There are many phases in disaster relief work. The longest stretch is usually in relocation, rebuilding which the media doesn’t cover. The monsoons are coming in the South Asia region and those affected need shelters.”

Starcom

The agency responded to a call out from the Advertising Association of Nepal for help in May.

Ujaya Shakya, VP of AAN, said that there is still much that the ad community could do to help.

“Internationally, what needs to change is the negative mindset of the tourist. Tourism is a major contributor to Nepal’s GDP, and we need to regain the confidence of the tourist,” Shakya told Mumbrella today.

The advertising and marketing communities across the region could help by promoting Nepal as a preferred travel destination, either for leisure or business, in their respective countries, he said.

Money is needed to restore Kathmandu Valley’s ancient heritage sites, which pull in 10 percent of the country’s GDP through tourism. Through events such as charity dinners, art auctions or by contributing directly, the industry could help Nepal’s economy get back on track, said Shakya, who can be reached at ujaya@outreachnepal.com.

Of the work winning awards at the Cannes Lions this year much was devoted to good causes, but there was nothing geared towards helping Nepal recover from the earthquakes.

Shakya said perhaps a lack of awareness of the gravity of the devastation meant that the situation in Nepal did not feature on the radars of international creative directors.

“Will still need help. We are open to any proposal from the advertising fraternity in Asia Pacific, and really hope that initiatives to help Nepal can be showcased at Cannes next year,” he said.

Nepal’s advertising market has slowly started to pick itself up in recent weeks, with some new product launch campaigns breaking. “We are very hopeful that from August onwards there will be more aggressive campaign launches as the festive season approaches,” Shakya said.

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