February 10, 2012
- Cash donations are the fastest, most efficient way to get help to people living in a disaster zone.
- They allow relief agencies to purchase quickly supplies based on the specific needs of the affected population.
- Cash donations allow relief agencies to purchase goods and services in the affected country or neighboring areas. Your financial contribution in other words, is helping to
1. get aid to affected populations as quickly as possible, and
2. regenerate the local economy, which may have been seriously affected by the disaster.
In most cases, it is more cost-effective to purchase goods locally than to airlift supplies from far away, as fuel and aircraft costs can be very high.
In addition local goods can be purchased in much less time than it takes to organize the logistics of an airlift from a distant country.
Culturally familiar goods can respond to humanitarian needs, as well as provide a small sense of comfort or normalcy to traumatized and displaced populations, which foreign, unfamiliar goods may not.
- Because cash donations are more useful.
- Relief workers on the ground can lose valuable time sorting through unmarked or inaccurately labelled boxes of privately donated goods when the necessary supplies can be purchased locally and cheaply.
- Food, clothing and other goods may not be appropriate for the climate or the culture of the affected population. For example, survivors may need light-weight tents in the case of a hurricane in the summer, or winterized tents in the case of an earthquake in the winter.
- If goods donated by the Canadian public are not appropriate for a given crisis, they may end up not being used, but will have been expensive to transport to the affected region.
- If the goods have not been processed accordingly, they can be refused entry into the affected country, clog up air and seaports and thereby delay the processing and release of essential relief supplies. In other words, your well-intentioned goods may slow down the distribution of appropriate relief supplies in the affected country.
- Donations of out-of-date medicine and medical supplies can do more harm than good to the health and survival of an affected population. In addition countries regulate the import of medicine; the medicines you send might be forbidden from passing through a country’s customs, and money will have been wasted in transporting them from Canada.
Canadian based NGO Relief Organizations:
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