USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance created the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) in 1988, one month after Hurricane Gilbert made landfall as a Category 5 storm affecting 10 countries. An outpouring of unsolicited donations to those countries took up space needed to stage and deliver life-saving relief supplies, and USAID and other responders spent valuable time managing unneeded clothing, expired medicine, and other non-critical items.
USAID established CIDI to inform the public about the advantages of giving monetary donations to relief organizations and warn about the risks of donating unsolicited material goods. CIDI’s goal is to support donors and relief agencies as they work together to provide quick, effective, and efficient relief to people affected by disasters.
CIDI also provides guidance to volunteers interested in responding to disasters so that they understand the resources, training, cultural sensitivity, and effort required to be a useful and valuable participant in relief efforts.
Our goal is to ensure that America’s generosity results in the most effective disaster relief by empowering the public to make informed decisions on how best to help.