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If recent disasters worldwide are any indication, the donation of inappropriate supplies remains a serious problem for the affected countries. A sports complex in Valencia, Venezuela, which served as the main temporary shelter for the population displaced by the disaster, illustrates what happens when an enormous amount of humanitarian aid arrives suddenly in a countr y. Critical items w e re mixed together with non-priority goods, and posed a serious challenge for SUMAvolunteers (see story p. S-4). Photo: FUNDESUMA/J. Venegas Unsolicited clothing, canned foods and, to a lesser extent, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, continue to clog the overburdened distribution networks during the immediate aftermath of highly-publicized tragedies. This issue persists in spite of health guidelines issued by the World Health Organization, a regional policy adopted by the Ministries of Health of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the educational lobbying efforts of a consortium of primarily European NGOs w w w. wemos.nl). Now the Harvard School of Public Health has partially addressed the issue in a comprehensive study of U.S. pharmaceutica

Year: 2010
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