Friday, May 27, 2011

Important Guidance on Helping Disaster Survivors

Yesterday FEMA sent the following email...

A second disaster threatens to overtake Joplin MO by way of a tidal wave of unsolicited goods (things like clothing, miscellaneous household items, mixed or perishable foodstuffs, diapers...) and volunteers who just show up to help.  Critical resources are being redirected from the important work of response and relief to managing what has become a crush of unneeded donated items.  Social networking sites are promoting collection drives while radio stations, small and large businesses, business and fraternal organizations and churches around the country fill semis with items that threaten to crowd warehouses and overwhelm distribution channels in the impacted area. 


Your help is urgently needed to stem the flow of unneeded goods and volunteers into Joplin.  You are encouraged to reach out to your employees, customers and other constituents on how those wanting to help can do so in a way that doesn't cause further impact, but rather aids in the response and recovery effort.
The following guidelines were developed by a coalition of government, voluntary agency and faith-based partners:
  • Cash to a recognized voluntary agency is the single best way to help disaster survivors.  Cash doesn't need to be sorted, stored or distributed, and it allows the voluntary agency to  the donation towards the needs that most urgently need addressing.
  • Visit http://sema.dps.mo.gov/recover/donations.asp to donate to the Missouri tornado recovery effort.
  • For information on other ways to help go to: www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/howtohelp.
Bottom Line

Two days ago I read a story praising four semi-trucks of supplies gathered via Facebook and Boy Scouts and delivered to Joplin. I thought about responding to that but didn't. During the aftermath of 9-11 authorities made it clear that they did not want random supplies pouring in. Ditto for Haitii after the earthquake. Send money instead.

In Monday's post I'll look at a status report from Joplin 36-hours after the tornado. Even then the Emergency Management Team was looking for a bigger warehouse to store unsolicited supplies.

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