Summer is a time in our country when natural disasters often strike. One special disaster that’s hit our country this summer is the Sharknado, a powerful storm that has pierced the American consciousness in a direct-to-TV SyFy movie released in mid-July. The film’s premise revolves around a freak tropical storm so powerful that it literally sucks sharks out of the ocean and sends them through the air in a “sharknado” that pours across the Los Angeles basin. The film’s campy premise and unmistakable name have caught internet fire and attracted the attention of millions. Despite the unlikely scenario, it begs the question of what the aftermath and recovery from a sharknado would entail.
First responders would immediately be confronted with a confusing and rapidly evolving situation. Buildings would be damaged by strong winds and heavy rains as well as from the sharks themselves, which would be scattered throughout the disaster zone. News media would broadcast stunning and dramatic images around the world of the devastation, the emergency rescue efforts, and on the suffering of the sharknado survivors. In a surge of compassion and generosity, people all over the country and throughout the world would respond with donations and some would even show up on the shark-affected scene to offer their help. As noble and well-intentioned as those actions would be, it may end up doing little good and might even make a bad situation worse.
During a time like this, unsolicited donations could clog up vital supply chains and bring the wrong items to the wrong people. Blankets and sneakers are of little use when live sharks are still attacking. Volunteers who show up on the scene could themselves become casualties and would need to be assessed and trained before being deployed. By contrast, cash donations would not cause such logistical complications as it is typically the most effective way to support rescue, relief and recovery efforts for a sharknado or any non-shark related disaster.
That isn’t to say that there wouldn’t be requests for specific, solicited donations. Undoubtedly, some relief organizations would need blood donations and medical supplies, and would ask for them from the general public. If you want to help relief efforts after a natural disaster but don’t know how best to do so, keep in mind that cash is always helpful and almost always the best way to help.
Natural disasters, with or without fins and teeth, have a lot in common. They can strike when you least expect them to, and they almost always create a confusing and dynamic situation for relief organizations. A Sharknado may seem a bit far-fetched, but the lesson that cash is best is anything but.