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'Cash, not second-hand clothes please,' Irish NGOs appeal to donors

Aid agencies say transportation of second hand goods can sometimes mean essential supplies don’t make it to where they’re needed.

An aid worker distributes relief goods at typhoon-hit Daan Bantayan, Cebu, central Philippines this week.
An aid worker distributes relief goods at typhoon-hit Daan Bantayan, Cebu, central Philippines this week.
Image: distributes relief goods at typhoon-hit Daan Bantayan, Cebu, central Philippines

IRISH AID AGENCIES are appealing to the public to give money rather than second hand material goods to the Philippines relief effort, as the response to Typhoon Haiyan continues.

Dóchas, the umbrella group for Ireland’s NGOs, has thanked donors for their generosity, but said that where material items are donated that haven’t specifically been requested, it may have the effect of preventing the transportation of goods that are needed.

According to Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas: “People in Ireland have once again shown their generosity when there is a need to assist victims of disaster, hunger or conflict”.

“At the same time, our experience as Irish NGOs also shows that this high level of public support is not always matched by a high level of understanding of the needs of the communities affected by the disaster.

“If material items are donated that have not specifically been requested by an aid agency, it may actually prevent the transportation of essential items”

“In the Philippines, roads have been damaged or have been rendered un-passable and there is a real risk of them becoming jammed with shipments of non-priority items, such as second hand clothes,” Zomer said.

image

Children queue for food at a damaged daycare centre in Basey township, Eastern Samar province [Bullit Marquez/AP/Press Association Images]

Donations of money enable relief organisations to buy exactly what victims need most urgently at locations closer to the affected areas. Dóchas is asking members of the public to check out the website HowYouCanHelp.ie which sets out ways people can help best assist aid agencies.

UN appeal

The appeal comes as the UN seeks more international aid to shelter and give temporary jobs to the millions displaced by the storm.

Donors have so far given $164 million, or just under half of the initial UN humanitarian appeal for $301 million.

The earlier appeal was launched on 12 November, four days after Haiyan unleashed powerful 315kph winds and giant storm surges in the central Philippines.

At least 5,598 have been killed and 1,759 others are still missing, mainly in the predominantly poor islands of Samar and Leyte, according to a government tally.

Read: Rain puts ‘fear in the eyes of children’ in the Philippines

Concern CEO: We need to look beyond short-term aid in Philippines

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