WASHINGTON, D.C. -- FEMA's Donations Coordination Center (DCC) has now handled more than 16,000 calls. The DCC was set up at FEMA's Hyattsville, Md. National Processing Service Center on April 6 to assist people interested in helping the Kosovo refugees. The center has operators answering phones 24-hours a day 7 days a week. In addition, a team of experienced donations specialists are at the DCC to evaluate specific offers of goods and services. On April 7, FEMA added two more phone banks: one in Denton, Texas, and the other in Berryville, Virginia. As of 5 p.m. on April 8, 350 phone operators were on line.
The DCC reports more than 95 percent of the calls are from individuals who want to make cash donations. Most of the remainder are calls with specific offers of goods or services. For example, a caller from England offered two plane loads of medicine for the relief effort. Donations specialists will work with donors such this to locate organizations interested in receiving goods or services.
Caller reactions have been generally positive. Approximately 50 percent of the callers have access to the Internet and are referred to the InterAction and USAID web-sites www.interaction.org and www.info.usaid.gov.
The websites provide callers with more about what the various organizations are doing in the field. The additional detailed information helps donors decide which agency they would like to support.
DCC telephone operators go over a list of organizations accepting donations with callers that don't have Internet access. They provide additional information including tollfree numbers to make a direct cash donations.
USAID and FEMA Meets with Relief Agencies
On April 8, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and FEMA met with leaders from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) directly involved in helping the refugees. The group discussed how the DCC could be more helpful in supporting Kosovo relief efforts.