What Not to Send When a Disaster Strikes

When a disaster happens in a far-away country, we want to help. However, doing the wrong thing may make a bad situation even worse. Unsolicited donations of goods often create a disaster within a disaster. For example, they may clog the very ports through which humanitarian agencies are trying to transport life-saving commodities. During the Haiti earthquake, clothing and other unneeded goods had to be thrown into fields to make space for relief items. Vanuatu still has warehouses full of donated items that were never needed such as expired foods, heavy blankets, and even skiing equipment. Cash is almost always the best way to respond. Below is an article by IRIN, a humanitarian news a

The Refugee Crisis Isn't About Refugees - Its About Us

There are more than 65 million persons displaced worldwide – more than at any time since World War II. To get a sense of the scale of displacement, and the stories of individuals and families behind the numbers, I highly recommend Ai WeiWei’s Documentary “The Human Flow“. Using drone footage, interviews, and still shots Wei Wei reminds us that every refugee and migrant is a human being with a story. In a related article in the Guardian, WeiWei states “The Refugee Crisis Isn’t About Refugees – It’s About Us“. In other words, it is about who we are and what we do. Many of us, including WeiWei and everyone in the United States who is not a Native American, has a migration or refugee story.

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