While it may seem natural to want to collect food and clothing for disaster victims or send teams of people into the disaster area, the gathering of large quantities of items or people can present their own logistical nightmare for the communities devastated by the disaster.
I will never forget the story I heard of the semi-truck full of bacon that arrived at one disaster scene that could not be cooked, refrigerated or shared with the community that it was sent to, nor will I forget the bags of used underwear that arrived on my emergency management office doorstep in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
If you want to help others, in any disaster situation:
- Stay informed of the situation. The Department of Homeland Security has a nice blog underway to share information on the situation in Haiti.
- Donate money to a relief organization. There are 3 specific efforts undeway in this regard: