On Feb 10, 2009, at 4:50 AM, Alberto Monteiro wrote:

> Rob asked:
>> Anyone know of a good way an
>> American can be helpful?
> Probably not now. The worst problem in this kind of disaster is
> logistics, not money.
> Since December, the brazilian state of Santa Catarina - among
> the richest of Brazil, probable comparable with any european
> country in terms of Human Develpment Index - suffers major
> catastrophic floods.
> There were campaings to collect clothes, water, food, etc - and
> all the things that were donated were either stolen or incinerated,
> as the problem was not that they didn't have them, but that these
> goods couldn't get there - because the _roads_ collapsed.
> I think the situation in Australia is the same. Those people lost
> their homes, but they can pull themselves out of ruin after the  
> crisis.
> During the crisis, the best thing outsiders can do is try to
> keep their roads free, and help remove them from the disaster area.
> Alberto Monteiro

Never underestimate the importance of the logistics and rebuilding  
basic infrastructure.

And we should know that after the post-Katrina aid and emergency  
management crisis in New Orleans and the Delta parishes.  It's easy to  
just "send stuff", but Alberto is absolutely right in that if there's  
no infrastructure to deliver it, a lot of resources are wasted both in  
gathering stuff to send and the logistics of shipping it around the  
world.  The Red Cross is a good starting point for contributions as  
they're familiar with what the most urgent needs are on the ground  
there right now.

"On this one we'd like to think of ourselves collectively as 'da men',  
sir." -- Toby Ziegler


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