When you do a social intervention, you sort of have a responsibility on what happens next, whether it is good or bad. For the most part, donations and volunteers will yield positive results for you, however, for the beneficiary, the impact is often not sustainable.
In Puerto Rico, people are still donating canned food and bottled water. All of which I've talked to various groups to discourage people from donation after a disaster.
When a hurricane takes out >70% of the powergrid, floods and destroys infrastructure, recycling is probably one of the lower priorities of the city, however, when a lot of food and water come in containers, there will be a point where there is no place to store the empty containers but, outside in the open. As trash piles up, these containers collect rain water and breed mosquitoes, bringing about a second disaster of diseases.
Donating bottled water cost easily 100 times more than just donating water filters. Every disaster area has water. they just need to filter out bacteria and impurities.
It is also possible to ship fresh vegetable and fruits, and with water filters, people can have clean water to drink and wash the vegetables. This will create much less waste and avoid unnecessary wastage and disease.
Please exercise thought when you donate. Your action does have an impact, and not caring what your donations do, or what happens after you donate is sometimes as bad as not donating.
If you want to pick up a Charity to support, perhaps you can support Relief 2.0.
We are working on a new ways to support Refugees (in Europe) and hope to spread our knowledge once we have more success.
-- Robin Low