Small Wars Journal

Five Myths About Helping the Philippines

Mon, 12/09/2013 - 1:27pm

Five Myths About Helping the Philippines by Jessica Alexander, Washington Post.

Hat Tip to Dave Maxwell who writes “Probably one of the best articles on aid I have read in a long time. Although focused on the Philippines it applies to nearly every humanitarian assistance and disaster relief situation.”

The Five Myths:

1. Locals in disaster areas wait for the international community to come save them.

2. Goods and services are “free” donations.

3. If aid agencies give affected people cash, they won’t spend it on the right things.

4. Earmarking donations guarantees that the money will be well spent.

5. Volunteers on the ground are always a help.

Read on for much more concerning the five myths.


These 5 myths are right out of the Joint Humanitarian Operations Course and are the patented answer as to why only official aid organizations should be allowed to play and hold some valid points regarding donations, etc., but the real question is this:

“How much aid should be given to a specific country, who year after year has the same natural disasters, the same generous donations from aid agencies, but fails to mitigate prior to the next Typhoon season?”

All the while, their politicians keep getting richer from syphoning aid off or giving it out to their constituents, as if it came from them?

USAID seems to forget that this is taxpayer $$$ they are so generously giving away, regardless if it really is only 1% of the budget, which they like to claim.

For some developing countries this has turned into nothing but a cash cow and will continue until mitigation benchmarks are set requiring noticeable improvements or the $$$ stop. This is exactly what the National Flood Insurance Program did to areas where taxpayers were paying for the rebuilding of homes in Hurricane and Flood prone areas up to 3 times. If a program like this is good enough for the tax paying citizens of America, then it is definitely good enough for developing countries who are recipients of U.S. funded aid.