Organizing Disaster

CARE shows that planning carefully for the worst helps make a bad situation manageable

Frederic Courbet / WPN for TIME

CARE teams in Nairobi, Kenya, assess the effects of recent political violence and the progress of an ongoing project at a school

When disasters strike, you won't find Becky Myton handing out cans of sardines. Although the little fish pack a protein wallop, "if you give out cans of sardines and people don't like them, you're just not doing them a favor," says Myton, an emergency coordinator for the Atlanta-based aid organization CARE. "It works much better when you evaluate people's needs and then meet them."

Myton's assessment reflects a 620-page operating manual that guides relief teams through the particulars of delivering the basics to those most in need. CARE's new manual, called the Emergency Toolkit, covers everything from preparedness planning and standard...

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