Help New Zealand Earthquake Relief: Send Cash

Posted on February 24, 2011 by Veronica Taylor

The NBC News reporter stood in front of a destroyed building in the New Zealand capital of Christchurch as he delivered his report to America tonight on Wednesday.

More than 80 percent of the capital city destroyed, more than 80 percent of the people without water, and rescuers saying there was little hope of finding more people alive after Tuesday’s earthquake.  Aftershocks are continuous.  The remoteness of this island nation makes relief again a challenge.

The deputy director of FEMA happened to be in Christchurch for a conference. A former firefighter, his professional instincts took over and he joined the rescue efforts, giving once again, the supreme, tragic example of what it means to be part of “the human family.”

What was the reporter’s message to his American audience?  “Don’t send blankets or clothing, just send cold, hard cash – PLEASE.”  Can it get any simpler than that?

So, across the globe, we once again all try to find ways to help. Increasingly, we know that the most effective way to get help to people who are victims of disaster – sudden, horrific, overwhelming disaster – is to send cash to those agencies who know how to respond. And, we are learning that enabling those agencies to respond quickly is critically important.

Many agencies are setting up “rapid response” funds. We need to learn more about what agencies have such funds and publish this information to people everywhere, so we can all help these funds grow to meet the obviously growing number of disaster situations.

If you know of agencies that have or are starting these funds, I’d love for you to let me know.  I want to start compiling a list of agencies so that we can figure out how to share this information.  In the meantime, you can always donate to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army or your local church or synagogue.  You can also go to a United Nations website, www.reliefweb.int, to learn about disaster relief funding and to donate to particular disaster relief situations.

Let’s share some information so we can “get smarter” about how to respond to disasters.  And, let’s heed the advice of the NBC reporter and send the most effective kind of aid.  It’s simple. Send cash.


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