Three high-magnitude earthquakes raise thought of donor fatigue

By March 8, 2010

International (MNN) — With the recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and now Taiwan, relief aid is spread thin. Though Chile's earthquake was of greater magnitude, the response to the crisis was significantly less.

Several news agencies, including the Seattle Times and Naples News, say this is a sign of donor fatigue setting in, especially since most of the globe is in economic crisis.

"In addition to the all-too familiar scenes–people trapped under mangled buildings, cries for help, the need for basic necessities, even looting for food and water–there is one added danger to overcome in Chile: compassion fatigue," said the Seattle Times in an editorial.

While it may be too soon to tell if this is the case, Charles Debter of Global Aid Network said, "Almost daily we hearing of a disaster in the news, but the need is ongoing. We don't want to pound people with that need but just to encourage them to know that there is opportunity if they are able."

So far, Debter said people have been generous, and there has been an overwhelming outpouring of prayer and financial support. Currently, GAiN has ongoing relief in Haiti and an assessment team on the ground in Chile.

However, this is mostly possible due to the fact that GAiN prepares resources ahead of disasters to be as ready as they can.

"Whether it's an earthquake or any other type of disaster, we can be prepared and respond quickly to the needs at hand," Debter said.

This is also a way to lower the chances of donor fatigue from occurring.

One resource they prepare ahead of time is emergency hygiene supply kits, which include "basic items, like hand towels, washcloths; hygiene items, like toothpaste and toothbrushes, a bar of soap and comb, wet wipes, shampoo and bandages; and other items that are necessities."

These packs are then shipped to GAiN's distribution centers and sent to people around the world in desperate need of them.

And, "with each carepack, it's our hope that the message of Christ will be shared with people who are receiving those," Debter said.

You can help assemble carepacks by yourself or with your church or another group. You can find a list of things to include, on GAiN's Web site, and the only cost is buying the items, shipping and handling. Also, if your church assembles 600 or more packs, GAiN will pick up and ship the items at no extra charge.

Consider this easy and inexpensive way to help hurting people around the world.

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