GIVING cash was the best way to rehabilitate people after a disaster.
The argument over cash versus physical goods was put to rest by Bega’s disaster and welfare co-ordinator, Mr David Shepherd, at a recent Bega Rotary Club meeting.
Mr Shepherd also heads the Bega district office of the Department of Community Services.
He told Rotarians that cash was the most efficient way to help people and communities recover after a disaster.
In the case of an individual, the Government made a “no-strings” $10,000 grant for the loss of a family home from wide-spread fire or flood or any other natural disaster and that was irrespective of insurance.
Mr Sheppherd said there was a two tier advantage for adopting this strategy.
People who had experienced devastation needed the freedom to rebuild their lives as they saw it, not as what might be imposed from outside.
But it went further than that. Not only was it important to rehabilitate individuals and families, whole communities needed to be revived.
“If people have to replace furniture, stoves, refrigerators, food etc, giving them money to replace these items from local stores goes a long way to helping the whole community recover,” Mr Shepherd said.
He said that although people meant well, giving food items and second-hand clothing and furniture represented a huge problem and, in fact, cost more money than it was worth.
“Much of the food goes off before it can be distributed, second-hand furniture in most cases is not suitable and clothing has to be cleaned before it is handed out”, he said.
“The cost of disposing of the items often represents a drain on resources which could have been put to better use.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.