Responding to natural disasters: as the unexpected becomes more common

In the midst of the media coverage exploring different angles of the situation in Haiti one year after the earthquake, there has also been coverage of recent natural disasters including the floods in Brazil and Australia (and, to a lesser extent, flooding in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa).

As we know, making quick decisions in response to emergency situations is becoming increasingly complicated due to both the overwhelming number of natural disasters we are seeing around the world and the many organizations vying for our attention. Sometimes we feel confident about where our money goes. In a study released by Charity Navigator, 60 per cent of donors surveyed felt confident or somewhat confident that their gifts had been appropriately spent by the charity (or charities) they selected. This confidence is owed in large part to the fact that most Haiti relief and recovery donors made gifts to organizations with which they already had a relationship.

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