Humanitarian Aid

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Disasters in developing nations bring out the better angels of foreign governments and world citizens, but not all aid, or media coverage, is distributed equally. On today’s show we discover why the world’s worst disasters don’t always get the most aid.

Then, if you’ve ever binge-watched a show until you feel sick, you may be suffering from: “shoverdose”.  Check your phone obsessively? Well, you may be “figital”. Later in the show, the joys of made-up words.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

Not sure how you're going to muster the energy to rake another pile of leaves this weekend? Let us make the chore a little easier by distracting you with a solid hour of public radio encouragement. The Word of Mouth Saturday show is carefully designed to take you on a sound odyssey that's perfect even if you decide to forgo the leaf raking for another day.

On this week's show:

  • Please don't send shoes: Jessica Alexander makes the case for sending money instead of food or clothing when disaster strikes.
  • Why is Sweden so good at pop music? Nolan Feeney outlines the many reasons Sweden is a country of hit makers. We dare you to not get "The Sign" stuck in your head.
  • Talking about death: It's not an easy subject, but a new Showtime series, "Time of Death" approaches the taboo with unflinching realism. Jaweed Kaleem from the Huffington Post, and Miggi Hood, co-executive producer of the series join us to talk about death.
  • The Warren Commission 50 years later. Justice Richard Mosk was a 23-year-old attorney when he became the youngest member of the commission established by President Johnson to investigate the murder of JFK and his assassin. He tells us about the commission and why conspiracy theories can be harmful.

Copyright 2013 JMA/EUMETSAT

Nearly a week has passed since Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines.  Aid organizations are reporting more than 10,000 dead, though Filipino President Aquino says that number is far overblown. Whatever the number, many more will likely succumb to disease or dehydration as relief slowly pours in to the hardest hit areas. Security is a major concern among officials in areas now teetering towards anarchy. Yesterday, Reuters reported that nearly 30,000 bags of rice were stolen from a government warehouse and rampant looting has turned deadly.   

Americans spring into action after such disasters, emptying their cupboards of old canned goods, medicines and clothing. Jessica Alexander urges you not to. She’s the  author of Chasing Chaos: My Decade In And Out Of Humanitarian Aid. We read her article “Please Don’t Send Your Old Shoes To The Philippines” on slate.com and reached her this morning at the UN.