The Logistics Cluster organization in its new report said “Cash is Best” policy is preferable for donations in 2017-18 cyclone season.
“After Tropical Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in March 2015, 77 containers of Unsolicited Bilateral Donations (UBDs) arrived in the country. More than two years on, 10 containers remain, accumulating US$2.5 million in storage, handling and container rental fees. To give some perspective – this money would be enough to purchase 29,700 kitchen sets, 41,600 tarpaulins and 25,000 shelter kits, as well as 45,880,000 litres of locally-sourced water” – the report says.
This month the 2017-18 cyclone season commences, and the Logistics Cluster is working with other humanitarian organisations in the Pacific region to advocate the message that after a disaster – Cash is Best.
The arrival of UBDs – from bottled water to clothes – into emergency responses is a longstanding issue globally. While often well-meant, the arrival of UBDs significantly impacts the efficiency of the humanitarian supply chain by congesting ports and entry points, competing for limited space in transport and warehousing, and taking up precious time for sorting and management. This causes logistical, environmental and economic difficulties for both relief agencies and affected-governments.
Cash donations to agencies working on the ground are globally recognized by organisations and charities as the best way to help recover impacted communities. Cash donations are fast, flexible, and do not hinder the efficiency of the humanitarian supply chain; they also allow goods to be purchased locally, providing normalcy to communities and benefitting the local economy.
This Pacific-contextualized communications campaign has been developed utilizing existing resources from the US Centre of International Disaster Information (CIDI) and the 2016-developed APEC toolkit.