According to FEMA, the public’s overwhelming generosity after Hurricane Laura is helping affected communities to start healing from the disaster. But sometimes, uncoordinated volunteering and donating can cause more problems than they solve.
An overflow of donated items can quickly exceed the needs of the affected communities. Supporting agencies may then need to redirect manpower to managing donated goods that may not meet survivors’ needs.
The State of Louisiana is asking you not to donate unsolicited goods. This will improve coordination with disaster relief organizations and local and state emergency managers so those in need receive the right help.
Officials say the easiest way to help is to donate cash. But you need to be careful about how you do that, they say.
If you are not affected by Hurricane Laura, the most effective way to support disaster survivors’ recovery is to make tax-deductible financial donations to trusted voluntary, faith and community-based charitable organizations. This gives them the ability to purchase or provide what survivors need.
In addition, when these organizations or survivors purchase goods or services locally, they pump money back into the local economy to help businesses recover faster.
To ensure your financial contribution is used responsibly, only donate to reputable organizations.
Both the Louisiana government donations webpage gov.louisiana.gov/page/hurricane-laura-donations and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster www.nvoad.org list trusted organizations receiving donations.
The situation is still not good for unaffiliated volunteers to self-deploy to affected areas since they may create additional burdens on communities where resources for food and shelter are scarce. The State of Louisiana is asking potential volunteers to register with volunteerlouisiana.gov or with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice.
For the latest information on Hurricane Laura, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4559 or follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6.