In the lockdown, like many businesses struggling without cashflow, charities can't fundraise and the public can't donate. There's no way for the public to show support for aid to the Pacific, let alone to help over-crowded refugee camps where Covid-19 is already killing. Imagine having escaped one killer – Syrian leader Bashar-al-Assad – only to face another one in a pandemic. Charities may be the only source of food in the camps. Some families must choose between buying soap or food.
But our aid charities, so often on the front line in an emergency, are hamstrung. It's not just that they can't fundraise. They can't even pick up their mail. As much as $500,000 in donations could be sitting in envelopes, waiting for aid charities responding to Cyclone Harold or for medical equipment and fresh water technology in refugee camps.
We're not just being selfless when we help our neighbours. It's also in our own interest. If we eradicate the virus from New Zealand, we won't want a "third wave" coming back with a vengeance via the Pacific.
Josie's column in the New Zealand Herald is here.