What Really Happens to Donations After a Disaster
In many disasters, people lose their homes and livelihoods. As a result, others want to help and donate whatever they can, including flashlights, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, canned food and toys.
But authorities report that a majority of the donations they receive aren’t needed, so what happens to these items? Let’s take a look at the effects of mass donations, what not to donate after a disaster and what you can do to truly help.
Not All Good Intentions Are Good Ideas
The world is susceptible to disasters. For instance, Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc in Texas and Louisiana, resulting in severe flooding and countless deaths. In 2011, an earthquake and tsunami caused catastrophic damage in Japan, leading to thousands of deaths and missing persons. People affected by the disasters lost everything, compelling others around the world to send all types of donations.
The Worst Things to Donate
Clothes: It's natural to believe that those who've lost everything must need clothes. But the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calls clothing one of the least useful donations for disaster relief. Most clothes are just left rotting on roadsides, in warehouses and even on plane runways.
The Best Things to Donate
Money: Experts highly encourage financial contributions as donations; even a small donation can help tremendously. It's best to send cash to accredited organizations so the donation doesn't end up in the wrong hands.