Aid money is channeled towards immediate disaster relief and reconstructive/reparation efforts, depending on the needs. Examples are the following:
Immediate disaster relief costs:
- Sending people and equipment to ensure basic safety: building structural safety, order and peace keeping, reduction of hazards from possible fuel/ gas / electricity leaks, etc.
- Sending people and equipment to ensure basic healthcare: doctors, nurses and mobile hospitals
- Sending food and cooking equipment
- Rebuilding and repairing public infrastructure such as hospitals, electricity and water networks, roads
- Ensuring communication networks are functional
- Others, depending on the case
Referring to the Haiti earthquake, you can see this example of reporting from SOS Children's Villages on their use of funds, or if you want to see how policy can be improved, you can read more from OECD.
Naturally, several emergency relief initiatives are accused of having outrageous costs, as people in these kind of scenarios are typically paid a premium for their hardship, but also due to the need of special protection or transportation equipment. An example from Haiti, helicopters or special airplanes had to be used to land in a runway which is affected by an earthquake.
Also, the chance of corruption or appearance of guerilla groups is very likely in disaster situations.