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Should I get on a plane to the Philippines to respond to Typhoon Haiyan?

November 12, 2013

I’m getting a lot of questions asking whether its a good idea to get on a plane to the Philippines right now. People wonder whether this is a good opportunity to get a start in humanitarian aid – after all – this is a huge emergency and the needs are immense, right?
The short answer is ‘no’. You should not get on a plane to the Philippines right now. The initial days and weeks of an emergency are chaotic and you will likely make things worse by being a burden on already stretched systems.
The longer answer is that many people do get their entry into this line of work by being on the ground when a disaster like this strikes. That’s a bit of a paradox, I know, but there is a difference between happening to be studying in the area and helping out, and going there after the fact.
What I would say is that after the initial humanitarian response calms down and the urgent need is dealt with, the region is certainly going to see an influx of money and jobs, and for people who have done the research, bring a compelling value proposition, and do it responsibly, there will be great job opportunities.

In the meantime Slate has a good article on how to help!

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 12, 2013 9:02 am

    Thank you for this. I am currently the moderator for and I keep getting the same questions. In times like these there is a need for qualified, trained and experienced field workers. I am certain that there will be years of development work that will need first time volunteers.

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