What NOT to give to relief aid: Red Cross
MANILA - Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross, gave the following rules when donating to victims of super typhoon "Yolanda."
1. Cash is better - It is better to give cash than small amounts of relief goods. One hundred to 200 pieces of canned goods are a small amount. What the victims need are truckloads of sardines, rice and ready to eat food. Also, it is harder to sort goods that are of different kinds.
There is also another reason why cash is better. "If we buy items in bulk, it is cheaper," Pang said.
She said the cash can also be used for cash-for-work programs or cash grants in typhoon-hit areas. "We empower people to decide on what they want to buy," she said.
2. Give clothes with "integrity." - According to Pang, the Red Cross only gives clothes that are suitable for the Philippine climate. Do not give clothes that are too thick. Also, do not give clothes that are too sexy - something you cannot wear in an evacuation center.
Also, do not give clothes that are too dilapidated and can't be used anymore.
"When we give, dapat may integrity din so that when they wear it, they feel good," Pang said.
3. Don't give cosmetic soap - Typhoon victims need anti-bacterial soap, not cosmetic soap. They also need anti-dandruff shampoo. Pang said the relief goods given to typhoon victims must be high quality. The Philippine Red Cross usually packs items for a family of 5. This means soap, 5 toothbrushes, etc.
4. Don't give noodles - "For the first 3 days, ang pinakakailangan ay food and water. It has to be ready to eat dahil wala silang pang-luto," Pang said.
"Noodles hindi advisable dahil pakukuluan unless there is water, pero kung wala - rice and ulam sapat yun."
Pang said canned goods should be in easy open cans because the victims have no can openers. She said the Red Cross sometimes does not give utensils because it just adds to the garbage.
The Philippine Red Cross hotlines are 143, +632 527-0000, 09324995241 and 09175261957.