As Australia and the Pacific region head into a dangerous cyclone season, the United Nations food-assistance agency says directly donating goods to places where a disaster has struck is often unhelpful, and can be harmful.
With the 2020 Pacific cyclone season underway and Australia's weather bureau forecasting a particularly difficult season under the prevailing La Nina, the UN is asking generous and well-meaning donors to donate responsibly.
The World Food Programme says the volume of unsolicited donated goods can be significant enough to hamper and overwhelm response efforts.
They say in past the unexpected goods have taken up the valuable port and warehouse space, blocked vital aid getting through and stretched the resources of first responders.
Sorting through container-loads of unknown donated goods is a major task and with limited hands to help, it may not be sorted for some time, if at all. Then when donations are inspected, they are spoiled or unusable and have to go to landfill.
For those wishing to help in making a more informed decision about how they donate, the WFP has launched a website so that donors' generosity, time and money are not wasted.
Please click on the player above to listen to the audio in Punjabi.