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Tips for do-gooders in times of emergency and disaster relief operations

This was taken and summarized from a story published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. To read the full story, CLICK HERE.

The Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR), a non-government organization involved in large-scale disaster-risk reduction and emergency-relief work, shared some tips for those who want to help in relief operations:

• Do the groundwork first. Get the number of individuals and families affected, as well as the number of fatalities, the injured or those ill, and of houses damaged or destroyed. Also gather data on crop damage, condition of critical facilities and estimated cost of damage.• Identify the worst hit and least served communities.

• Coordinate with the Department of Social Work and Development and the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

• Identify targets and prepare assistance based on immediate needs, usually medicine and rescue. Consult with other NGOs so that efforts don’t overlap and “over-serve” certain communities.

• In preparing food assistance, try to give families what can cover their basic caloric needs for one week. Avoid giving foodstuffs that are low in nutrients like noodles. A standard package that can sustain a family of five for a week includes eight kilos of rice, half a kilo of fish (or dried fish), half a kilo of mongo, three cans of sardines or corned beef (or any food containing protein), some salt and sugar, and water.

Cash donations

• The best way to help is to give cash donations. Old clothes may help but they are usually not the immediate requirements. Calamity victims have no use for high-heeled shoes or ball gowns.

• In extending relief to urban poor communities, don’t go into the middle of a community. Go to the community church and enlist the help of the parish priest for the orderly distribution of relief goods.

• Don’t destroy the local economy by flooding the disaster-stricken area with consumer goods that are readily available in the community.

• To avoid crowding out local businesses and save on transportation costs, bring only the goods that local entrepreneurs don’t sell.

• For large-scale purchases of relief goods, bid out the procurement to get the best deal.

• To ensure transparency and accountability to beneficiaries and to the donors, document the disaster response in all stages.

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