Roger Yates, with over 25 years of experience dealing with these situations, including the 2004 tsunami, tips:
- Focus on the priorities. Don’t try to do everything at once. Accept initial levels of chaos and confusion. Immediate priorities probably include understanding how things work in the Philippines, and who is doing what; developing initial plans based on local needs, not what donors have to give; and thinking ahead when organizing initial work so it will be relevant later on. Prepare to adapt priorities as circumstances change in the coming weeks.
- Understand the role of the military and the government. The army will probably play a leading role in the initial response, with international assistance. They may run the airport, clear major routes, oversee logistics and provide security. NGOs should understand how the military is organized and what they see as their role — as well as how government is run. NGOs