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Building Back Better: The Power of Grants in Long-term Disaster Recovery


Disasters, whether natural or man-made, can cause immense damage to communities, infrastructure, and livelihoods. Immediate relief efforts provide urgent aid and stabilize affected areas, but full recovery requires long-term efforts.

This is where the role of philanthropy to organizations in the affected community becomes critical. By supporting long-term disaster recovery efforts, private giving helps communities rebuild, become more resilient, and ensure sustainable development. 

Immediate vs. Long-term Recovery Efforts

When a disaster strikes, the immediate focus is on providing relief—food, water, shelter, and medical care—to those affected. These efforts are essential in addressing urgent needs and preventing further harm. According to the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, initial relief efforts are vital for stabilizing communities and providing the necessary resources to begin the recovery process. 

While short-term relief is vital, support for long-term needs falls short for comprehensive recovery. Without sustained support, communities may struggle to rebuild fully or to rebound economically. Long-term efforts address deeper issues like infrastructure, livelihoods, and resilience. Research shows that lacking sustained recovery efforts can prolong hardships and hinder rebuilding. 

Building Resilience & Economic Development

Local organizations that are embedded in the affected communities and have a long-term stake in that community’s success also are best positioned to provide sustained support necessary for long-term recovery, helping communities rebuild over months and years. By investing in infrastructure, improving disaster preparedness, and enhancing local capacities, private philanthropy to these local organizations can help communities become more resilient in the face of future disasters. This proactive approach reduces the impact of future disasters and enables quicker recovery. 

Furthermore, local support plays a significant role in reviving local economies post-disaster. By supporting initiatives that promote economic growth and development, grants help restore livelihoods, create jobs, and stimulate economic activity. This not only aids in recovery but also contributes to the long-term prosperity of the affected regions. Long-term economic development projects funded by grants can significantly improve the overall recovery and resilience of communities.

Case Study: Flood Relief Project

In August 2023, Typhoon Doksuri caused heavy rainfall in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Northeast China, and other areas, triggering floods and geological disasters. These disasters severely affected the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and Northeast China, necessitating urgent reconstruction support. The Typhoon Flood Relief Project, funded by a $177,257.10 grant through Give2Asia, and implemented by the China Foundation for Rural Development (CFRD), aims to help the affected people rebuild their homes and support the construction of livable rural areas through material aid and work-for-relief programs. 

Founded in 1989, CFRD is a leading in-country public welfare organization specializing in rural development and disaster recovery. This project highlights the importance of long-term recovery efforts to ensure sustainable development and resilience in disaster-prone regions. 

Project Activities 

  • Material Aid: To support severely affected villages in restoring production and livelihoods, the project provided one excavator and one loader to Shangpu Village, Hebei Province, benefiting over 1,000 residents. Additionally, emergency communication equipment was provided to YanShou County, Heilongjiang Province, benefiting 28 villages/communities and a total of 29,800 individuals. 
  •  Rebuilding Homes—Cash-for-Work: Following the flooding disasters, CFRD initiated the Rebuilding Homes—Cash-for-Work. The project allocated 800,000 yuan (approx. $110,000 USD) to support 16 disaster-affected villages in Heilongjiang Province, providing subsidies to alleviate post-disaster unemployment and income loss. 

Project Outcomes & Impact 

As of January 23, 2024, the project has directly benefited over 40,000 individuals. In material assistance, the project has supported the donation of one excavator and one loader to Laiyuan County, Hebei Province, and provided 23 satellite phones and 92 walkie-talkies to Yanshou County, Heilongjiang Province, benefiting over 30,000 people. In rebuilding homes, the reconstruction of homes and subsidy distribution for all 16 project villages have been completed, directly benefiting 15,333 individuals. 

The Broader Impact 

The Typhoon Doksuri Recovery Project aims to revitalize the local economy by providing crucial material aid and supporting work-for-relief programs. By supplying essential equipment such as excavators and loaders for debris clearing and reconstruction, the project helps restore production and livelihoods. This support contributes to the overall economic growth in the affected regions, ensuring that communities can recover more quickly and effectively. 

The project empowers the local community by providing emergency communication equipment to enhance disaster preparedness and response capabilities. By equipping remote rural areas with satellite phones and walkie-talkies, the project ensures that communities can maintain communication during disasters. This empowerment builds the confidence and capacity of local communities to manage emergency situations more effectively. 

A key aspect of the project is promoting sustainable recovery practices through work-for-aid programs. By involving local residents in the clearing of mud and debris and providing financial support, the project not only restores homes and infrastructure but also addresses post-disaster unemployment and income loss. This approach ensures that the recovery process is inclusive and sustainable, benefiting future generations by creating a resilient community structure. 

Conclusion 

The Typhoon Doksuri Recovery Project exemplifies the critical role of philanthropic support in supporting long-term disaster recovery. By providing sustained support, building resilience, and promoting economic development, grants help communities move beyond survival to thrive in the aftermath of disasters. 

Check out DisasterLink to learn more about Give2Asia’s disaster initiatives or contribute to our disaster preparedness fund. Your contribution can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by disasters, helping to build stronger, more resilient communities. 

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