Don’t send second-hand goods to the Philippines.

30/11/2013 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

As Irish aid agencies’ emergency response teams work to assist victims of the typhoon in the Philippines, Dóchas is asking members of the public to give money, rather than send goods to the Philippines.

The call came as Dóchas announced that donations from the Irish public to relief efforts in the Philippines had reached a total of €4 million.

“Every donation is making a difference to people in desperate need. The people of Ireland have once again shown their generosity in the face of human suffering,” said Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas. “However, with over 14 million people affected, 1.2 million housed damaged or destroyed, and more than 3 million men, women and children displaced and in need of aid, the humanitarian situation in areas devastated by the typhoon is still catastrophic. Rebuilding is a long term effort and we would urge the Irish people to continue to donate so our member agencies can reach the people who are in urgent need of food, water, shelter and medical supplies.”

Dóchas pointed out that experience shows that the high level of public support for aid among people in Ireland is not always matched by a high level of understanding of the needs of the communities affected by the disaster.

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Volunteers stack up donations at a Red Cross relief station in Teresopolis, Brazil on January 19, 2011. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images) #

In particular, many people continue to want to donate second-hand goods to the victims of emergencies.

But Dóchas points out that, if goods are donated that have not specifically been requested by an aid agency, they may actually prevent the transportation of essential items.

“In the Philippines, roads have been damaged or have been rendered un-passable and there is a real risk of them becoming jammed with shipments of non-priority items, such as second hand clothes,” Hans Zomer said. “In contrast, financial donations enable relief organisations to purchase exactly what disaster victims need most urgently. That way, the supplies arrive quickly, transport and storage costs are kept to a minimum and the goods are guaranteed to be suitable for local conditions in the Philippines.”

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Irish NGOs are also encouraging the public to visit the HowYouCanHelp.ie website, which is hosted by the 51 members of Dóchas and gives details on what to do, and what not to do to assist those affected in times of disaster. The HowYouCanHelp website sets out the principles of good emergency relief, and the many ways in which members of the public can assist the Irish aid agencies to do their work.

Also read these excellent articles:

Volunteers pack relief goods inside a Department of Social Welfare and Development warehouse in Manila

Photo by Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

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New opinion poll: 85% of Irish people think it’s important to help people in developing countries. ‘Break Barriers, Open Doors’ – Disability and Development

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