After the Headlines Fade: Opportunities for BC Professionals to Have Impact

When disaster strikes, organizations pour in to help, providing aid, clearing debris, serving food and taking in survivors. However, when the media hype dies down and many organizations start to pull out of the affected area, there is often still a lot of work to be done.

A recent article from devex.com shows us how the private sector in the Philippines is stepping up to fill that void in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

“The direction I want to pursue is clear — to maximize the participation of the private sector, because the government really can’t do this alone. And their response has been so enthusiastic,” Secretary Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, the Philippine government point person for post-Haiyan rehabilitation, told devex.com.

Though private sector donations are often not as publicized or commonly known, the article offers some inspiring statistics.

According to the United Nations Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance, private organizations and individuals have contributed 25 percent of the donations to Haiyan relief. That comes to a total of $150 million. For comparison, the combined donations of the world’s top five public sector donors – the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan – is about $280 million.

Though such large contributions from the private sector are a relatively new experience for disaster relief officials, it is a welcome one, and it is making a significant difference.

“Private sector involvement post-Yolanda has been remarkable, but where this work will really payoff is the Philippines’ next disaster,” said Karen Smith, of the UN’s OCHA.

In related news, a story from watchdog.org tells us how diverse youth are coming together to help Oklahoma communities.

People are still recovering from the 2013 tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma, and a group of Muslim and Jewish young adults are lending a hand.

They’re part of the “Bridges” program, which promotes interfaith dialogue under the umbrella of the Jewish Disaster Response Corps. The goal of the JDRC is “to mobilize the national Jewish community to assist domestic communities recovering from natural disasters,” the article explains.

Executive director for JDRC, Adina Remz, told the Oklahama Watchdog that the program “is based around the idea that our communities are stronger when they work together and coexist. Thus, we participate in community service projects, social gatherings, and religious discussions throughout the year.”

The group of young adults working with the program comes from various out-of-state universities and diverse backgrounds, but they put aside their differences and work together to help those in need.

They work in one-week stints, helping to rebuild homes and implement rehabilitation methods. Remz said they also “meet with community members in the evening to discuss issues of long-term recovery, needs of individuals following disasters and community dinners.”

According to the article, JDRC students have rebuilt 10 homes in five Oklahoma communities since the beginning of 2014.

Noting the open-armed welcome they have received, Remz said the group has received as much as it has given.

 

For more information on how the private sector is contributing to the Typhoon Haiyan relief effort, see this article: https://www.devex.com/en/news/private-sector-stepping-up-in-the-philippines/82729
For more information on the work of JDRC, see this article: http://watchdog.org/125545/building-bridges-ok-recovery/