(CMR) The Cayman Islands Red Cross is encouraging people to be mindful of sending unsolicited donations to the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. Well-meaning good donors may be causing more of an issue than they realize by collecting their own donations that have not been requested.
We spoke with Carolina Ferreira, Red Cross Director yesterday. She stressed unsolicited goods can cause more havoc than intended. Persons are encouraged to work with international agencies that have disaster relief experience to ensure the people that need the help the most actually get it.
She further explained that there have been instances where clothing etc. ends up in the local landfill or worse because it's simply not needed. This is called the second disaster – one that can wreak havoc on the environment and victims.
In a frank conversation, Ferreira explained more:
One of the primary issues is getting items from Cayman into not just the country itself but the specific areas and people impacted.
The Red Cross is an internationally recognized agency that has the ability to leverage its experience and buying power to most effectively assist hurricane survivors.
The government has also stressed the need to have a well organized and coordinated official process.
“It is vital that relief efforts are coordinated effectively by the international community and major humanitarian NGOs. Providing financial support and ensuring regional partners have access to our equipment and other physical assets, should they require them, is the best way that we can support the people of the Bahamas at this time.”Premier Alden McLaughlin
The governor also supported this position:
“I know that Caymanians feel a strong sense of empathy with the people who have been affected by Hurricane Dorian. As the Red Cross has pointed out, the collection of unsolicited goods by the public and organisations can harm relief efforts following disasters such as this. I would urge the public to provide assistance by providing funding to relief organisations like the Red Cross to enable appropriate and targeted assistance to be effective.”Cayman Islands Governor Martyn Roper
They confirmed that assistance coming from the Cayman Islands would be coordinated with regional partners.
“Most certainly there is a need to help, and as soon as is practically possible we should mobilise our resources and offer that assistance. I have asked members of the opposition to be prepared to assist in the local relief efforts, and we will coordinate with the government and our constituents to ensure that this happens as efficiently and effectively as possible.”Opposition Leader, Arden McLean