Money is the best way to help
This cyclone season, when you want to step up and help when disaster strikes in the Pacific, remember that in the professional hands of a New Zealand humanitarian NGO, money rather than goods will always do the greatest good, Josie argued in the New Zealand Herald.
When humanitarian crises strike and many people's lives are in danger, most Kiwis want to help in one way or another. We're generous people and we pride ourselves on being good global citizens.
But sometimes well-meaning actions do more harm than good. This is especially true after a disaster, when the desire to help is greatest, but sending the wrong help slows down recovery and can even risk lives.
Sending free food, clothes, and supplies can undercut local businesses desperate for customers. Containers of used goods - toasters and toys, computers and cutlery - take up space and slow down a response. They take time to unload and sort, holding up supplies for the most immediate of needs. Locals are often left with the bill for Customs duties, even though the contents may not be worth it.
Money directed to people in need is the most effective disaster relief tool. Money allows people in a disaster to decide their own priority needs, and to meet those needs through local markets. Money is quick to transport and distribute, and doesn't get bogged down at ports.
Cash donations to transparent and accountable Kiwi NGOs is the best way to make money count. New Zealand humanitarian NGOs are adept at making sure money flows to the people who need it most, where the need is greatest, for the greatest possible impact. Our NGOs can quickly deliver the vital supplies that disaster-affected people can't always buy for themselves - clean water, medical supplies, temporary shelter, counselling support for children and families.
This cyclone season, when you want to step up and help when disaster strikes in the Pacific, remember that in the professional hands of a New Zealand humanitarian NGO, money rather than goods will always do the greatest good.Read the rest here.Find out about the NGO disaster relief forum here