Last year around this time, the U.S. was reeling from Superstorm Sandy’s touchdown on the east coast; but Sandy was a toddler compared to Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines on November 8th. And, knowing that things are much worse in the Philippines than they were last year in New York, many are looking for ways to help.
But with the utter destruction wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan, it’s proving difficult for international aid workers to get in and provide support. While it seems appropriate to consider donating items like old clothes—no doubt something victims will need—money is a far more appropriate method of aid.
“It absolutely should be money,” said Kathleen Tierney, who is the director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder. “Whether it’s the U.S. or abroad, one thing that typically happens after a major disaster is people want to donate stuff. This creates enormous logistical problems… and people receiving donations they could never conceivably use, like winter coats send to people in the Caribbean.”
Donating cash to organizations like the Red Cross allows those organizations to purchase items and provide exactly what is needed. While those sending physical items may have the best intentions, they are not present to understand the needs of victims.
The best way to help is to leave the logistics to the experts. Check out Charity Navigator to find established and effective nonprofits—or donate to larger organizations that you can trust.