ECONOMÍA

Artículo: El problema oculto de las donaciones

Fuente: KIENYKE.COM

Estos meses nos recuerdan que los desastres siguen allí y que, aun sabiéndolo, poco podemos hacer. Cada vez que se presenta uno, se encienden las alarmas y causa conmoción. Normalmente, algunas organizaciones abren puestos para recibir donaciones. Y nosotros, el resto del mundo que solo ve el desastre por televisión, queremos colaborar. Así, miles de personas deciden enviar su ayuda. A esto se le conoce como el Fenómeno de la Convergencia. Este ocurre cuando inmediatamente después de un evento impactante, tres cosas convergen hacia él: personas, información y materiales. Son estos últimos los que generan un problema oculto.

¿Sabía usted que el 60% de las cosas que dona no sirven?

Primero, déjeme explicarle que en un desastre se pueden clasificar tres clases de donaciones. Según la Organización Panamericana de la Salud, en estas circunstancias los artículos más importantes son los de Alta Prioridad, ítems requeridos inmediatamente para mitigar el sufrimiento; los segundos, de Baja Prioridad, que no se requieren inmediatamente, pero que podrían utilizarse en el corto plazo; y finalmente, los ítems de Ninguna Prioridad, que son inapropiados para la situación o que llegan en pésimas condiciones.

¿Qué problemas ocasiona?

El problema ocurre cuando estas donaciones llegan al lugar del desastre. Por el fenómeno de la convergencia de materiales, la cantidad que se obtienen de estos es abrumadora, y muchas veces supera la capacidad para poder manejarlos.

Experiencias anteriores como los terremotos de Haití o Japón confirman lo que ya se ha notado: el 60% de las donaciones son innecesarias; o, dicho de otro modo, son donaciones “basura”. Estas, en lugar de ayudar, imposibilitan la gestión eficiente de las que sí son necesarias. Tal es así que la cantidad de donaciones de Alta Prioridad llegan solo al 10%.

El investigador Holguín-Veras remarca que no solo estas donaciones son problemáticas, a veces la donación excesiva de materiales de Baja Prioridad también puede convertirse en un dolor de cabeza, como lo experimentado en Japón en 2011: se donaron una enorme cantidad de mantas que, cuando la temperatura calentó, se convirtieron en un problema. Lo mismo sucedió con el agua embotellada.

Fuente: José Holguín-Veras en la Universidad del Pacífico en Lima, agosto de 2018.

Fuente: José Holguín-Veras en la Universidad del Pacífico en Lima, agosto de 2018.

Vea el gráfico de arriba y suponga que, luego de la salida del río Piura en 2017, solo una carretera quedó utilizable. El camión verde era el importante, pero había nueve camiones de basura delante de él. ¿Ya se dio cuenta?

Quien escribe ha podido conversar con voluntarios luego de la inundación de Piura en 2017. No existen registros oficiales, pero su experiencia reafirma lo anterior. El problema para atender un desastre no es la falta de solidaridad, tampoco está en la escasez de donaciones; reside en qué y cuánto se dona, y luego en cómo se entrega. Mientras algunas iniciativas de coordinación se terminan de forjar, a nosotros nos toca seguir donando, pero de una manera sensata. Solo así nuestra ayuda se convertirá en verdadera.

Gianmarco Merino
Ingeniero industrial por la Universidad de Piura. Ha sido pasante en el MIT. Le interesa la investigación de operaciones, la economía conductual y la filosofía. A veces, intenta escribir ensayos.
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