Disaster relief is a powerful way for citizens who have something to offer to help those who do not. At its very basic level it is a vehicle for transferring money and goods from people who can afford it to those who cannot. And it takes place, usually, during and after some sort of either manmade or natural disaster.
But did you know there are multiple phases to disaster relief? The need for help and support in rebuilding doesn’t die down when the media coverage stops.
Quite the opposite actually.
Right before and during a natural disaster media coverage tends to be at its highest. Media outlets are trying to keep people informed, make sure the community is aware of any dangers, and let those not in the immediate area know what is going on where their friends and family live.
After the disaster, when the adrenaline subsides, so do the news stories. There are no more camera crews sharing stories of those impacted and no photos splashed across social media and the newstands.
Often times, when the media goes away, so does the support.
Phase 1 Disaster Relief
There are a number of organizations out there that offer Phase 1 disaster relief. These are the organizations that deliver money, food, water and other immediate needs to those who have been displaced. They set up shelters and offer warm and dry places to sleep.
You’ll often read unpleasant things about the conditions in these shelters. But at least they are offering a roof in a time when many people don’t even have that. A meal when they would otherwise go without.
Phase 1 disaster relief is essential to the survival of those in the immediate area, evacuated and homeless, unsure of what their future holds.
But what about after everyone leaves? When people are allowed back in their homes to survey the damage, walking the property that once existed where now only ruins and ash remain. What about after the waters subside and the long and arduous process of drying and salvaging any belongings they can begins?
Who is left to help them once the rest of us have moved on with our overwhelmingly busy lives and all but forgotten about those who can’t imagine a normal life ever again?
Phase 2 Disaster Relief
That is when Phase 2 disaster relief takes over. These are the organizations that help distribute the items that Phase 1 organizations turn away. The items that people need as they begin to rebuild, when they have a place to keep things such as clothes and appliances.
These organizations handle collection, storage, sorting, packing and distribution of the larger, bulky items that other organizations can’t manage. They focus on filling a different need. An essential need.
The Phase 2 need.
These organizations often work with local organizations and groups to ensure donations go to those in need. The top priority is making sure that donations go to the families who need them the most, the people who can benefit from them, and the survivors who are working hard to rebuild and have a place to put their donations.
Choosing what Phase 2 Organization to Donate to
It is critical, when choosing who you are going to donate to, that you find a group who works with people on the ground in disaster areas. You want an organization that does the work to make sure donations are not wasted, that they are used and appreciated by those who need them most.
As you can see, choosing what and where to make donations is an important decision. And as many are not aware, the needs are extensive and continue for months, sometimes years, after the disaster has subsided and the media has left.