Mother Nature is acting up and millions are affected and displaced once it strikes. From destructive hurricanes to powerful earthquakes that take everyone by surprise, people’s lives are lost, homes are destroyed, livestock and livelihood, etc. all gone in a snap. Perhaps it is her way of reminding us who is the boss and that we should pay for all the abuse we are doing to many of the world’s natural resources. These calamities are even intensified by climate change and global warming that is the reality of our day today.
The public counts on the government to help them out in times of need and provide the support they require to help them move on from these disasters and start anew. Fortunately, there are third parties willing to extend help and offer this support because they know that the government alone will have a hard time meeting the needs of the people because they’ll be stretching themselves too thin by then considering that some of the employees are also victims themselves. Hence, NGOs and many other organizations that pledge help in times of crisis are lifesavers in a lot of ways.
Hurricane Maria is over Puerto Rico, with the eyewall soon due at the capital San Juan. Its arrival follows Tuesday’s 7.1 earthquake in Mexico, where rescue crews are searching for survivors.
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, how do organizations prepare and send help? Garrett Ingoglia — VP of emergency response for Americares, a Connecticut based nonprofit — joined us to discuss how his group does it, and whether people are becoming too emotionally fatigued to help out. Below is an edited transcript.
David Brancaccio: How do you, as a disaster-relief outfit, coordinate all the moving parts?
Garrett Ingoglia: Like any organization, we have limited resources, but we also prepare for this. Any response organization has to have the ability to increase its workforce quickly to meet the demands of one, or in this case, multiple disasters. So we put in place systems to enable us to do that.
Each year, countless disasters strike various parts of the globe and we can only pray that it won’t be as destructive as the last one but no, it only gets worse and worse as the years go by. We can’t really tell for sure if climate change has to do with it but many are leaning toward that theory. It’s the reason why organizations both global and local that are involved in disaster relief and rescue and in the rehabilitation as well work hand in hand all-year round to ensure they are always ready to answer the cry for help of any place that has been struck by disaster.
Donate money or supplies
Rescue, volunteer and emergency aid organizations will need as many resources as possible. Organizations including UNICEF Mexico, the Mexican Red Cross and Brigada de Rescate Topos, a local disaster relief volunteer organization, are looking for monetary donations.
You can also donate to groups using crowdfunding sites, including Global Giving and GoFundMe, which has created a specific landing page for all verified Mexico donation pages. Actress Selma Hayek, who was born in Mexico, has also launched her own fundraising campaign for UNICEF to help the victims of the Mexico earthquakes.
Nonprofits on the ground in Mexico City will need supplies, including water, batteries, medicine, food and canned goods. Groups and locations that are accepting all types of donations include: Oxfam Mexico, Save the Children Mexico, La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, World Vision, The Salvation Army and Project Paz.
This is an example of how organizations respond to disasters. Aside from using up their funds that have also been donated to them by various sponsors, they also ask those who are unaffected by the calamity to pitch in and help in whatever way they can. These organizations also send people on the frontline to offer physical support especially in dispensing basic needs and medical services and that is a risk they willingly take because of their desire to help and save the lives of other people. Through their intervention, the mobility of donations become faster and help gets to the people in need even without the assistance of the government or the local authorities. Without them, disaster relief will take far longer and people will suffer and even die especially in disasters with extensive damages.