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