Post Disaster Relief: Focus Your Efforts and Leave Some Out? Or Spread Thin?

When it comes to disaster recovery work, what is the best way to divide resources? This is a question with many answers and many points of view, particularly when dealing with a disaster of such devastating proportions as Typhoon Haiyan (known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda).

One San Francisco-based organization has decided to target just one municipality, Guiuan, in its long-term Philippines recovery work, according to an article from

According to the article, Guiuan, a municipality in Eastern Samar, was the first place struck by the typhoon, now called a super typhoon, in November, 2013. More than 10,000 homes were completely destroyed while another 1,600 were left partly damaged. The two main sources of livelihoods in Guiuan, fishing and coconut farming, have also been lost.

According to the article, the organization, Give2Asia, founded in 2001, has responded to almost 40 natural disasters in the Asia Pacific region during the last 10 years, including five in the Philippines.

Give2Asia’s chairman of the board, Dr. Ta-lin Hsu, announced the organization’s decision to focus its aid at a press conference. He is quoted in the article.

"By investing in one municipality, Give2Asia can foster collaboration between the municipal government, local non-governmental organizations, and international donors," said Hsu.

"We believe this is a win-win scenario that meets local needs through promotion of effective on-the-ground NGOs, and allays donors' concern of corruption and waste."

This news provides some food for thought. Is it better to target just a few select areas during relief efforts? Or does this mean some vital areas of need will get left out? The alternative is to try to help all areas at once, but that could mean resources and finances end up getting spread too thin, so is that really the better choice?


If you would like to support Give2Asia’s Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts, contact
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