by Milbig1 min read14th Oct 20204 comments

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Hi there, after the horrible fire in Moria, people are now without any shelter, sanitary or medical care. I want to help! AS Dunja asked in February, when the camp still existed but conditions weren't much better, I also look for an effective way to help. Does anyone have a suggestion?

Thanks! Milbig

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In this question, you're asking about how best to help a very specific group of people, which isn't the traditional "EA" approach. 

Generally, effective altruism is focused on finding the best ways to help people without choosing which specific people to help ahead of time. Instead, we try to reach whichever people will get the most benefit from what we can give.

The people we can help the most usually aren't those whose problems we hear about on the news. As GiveWell notes in their advice on disaster relief giving:

Think about less-publicized suffering. Every day, people die from preventable and curable diseases, in many cases because they lack access to proven life-savers such as insecticide-treated nets. Their day-to-day suffering isn’t well-suited to making headlines, and they generally don’t attract the attention and dollars that disaster relief victims do – yet we believe that donations targeting these populations do more good than disaster relief donations.

If a recent disaster has given you a strengthened desire to reduce suffering and help others, consider asking whether you might be able to broaden this desire and make it part of your everyday life.

That said, if you are determined to specifically help people who were affected by this fire, GiveWell's other advice in that article is worth taking: 

  • Give cash rather than goods
  • Make unrestricted donations
  • Proactively seek out accountable and transparent organizations (rather than supporting one that happens to advertise to you)

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