The Logistics Cluster in the Pacific advocates “Cash is Best” message for 2017-18 cyclone season

03 November 2017
Logistics Preparedness in the Pacific

Logistics Preparedness in the Pacific

When a disaster strikes, people everywhere are keen to assist, but the wrong donation at the wrong time can actually hinder instead of help relief efforts.

After Tropical Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in March 2015, 77 containers of Unsolicited Bilateral Donations (UBDs) arrived in the country. More than two years on, 10 containers remain, accumulating US$2.5 million in storage, handling and container rental fees. To give some perspective - this money would be enough to purchase 29,700 kitchen sets, 41,600 tarpaulins and 25,000 shelter kits, as well as 45,880,000 litres of locally-sourced water.

This month the 2017-18 cyclone season commences, and the Logistics Cluster is working with other humanitarian organisations in the Pacific region to advocate the message that after a disaster – Cash is Best.

The arrival of UBDs – from bottled water to clothes - into emergency responses is a longstanding issue globally. While often well-meant, the arrival of UBDs significantly impacts the efficiency of the humanitarian supply chain by congesting ports and entry points, competing for limited space in transport and warehousing, and taking up precious time for sorting and management. This causes logistical, environmental and economic difficulties for both relief agencies and affected-governments.

Cash donations to agencies working on the ground are globally recognized by organisations and charities as the best way to help recover impacted communities. Cash donations are fast, flexible, and do not hinder the efficiency of the humanitarian supply chain; they also allow goods to be purchased locally, providing normalcy to communities and benefitting the local economy.

This Pacific-contextualized communications campaign has been developed utilizing existing resources from the US Centre of International Disaster Information (CIDI) and the 2016-developed APEC toolkit.

For more information please contact:

Florent Chane (Logistics Coordinator, WFP Pacific): Florent.Chane@wfp.org

Jemma Pietrus (Communications Officer, WFP Pacific): Jemma.Pietrus@wfp.org

Photo credits: National Disaster Management Office/Vanuatu