In 1969, Hurricane Camille ravaged the coast of Mississippi. It was a Category 5 storm with winds over 190 mph. With the exception of Typhoon Haiyan last year, this hurricane had the highest sustained landfall winds ever recorded. After the water receded and the winds subsided, over 250 lives had been lost.
Why NVOAD was created
It was this disaster that prompted the creation of NVOAD: National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. One of many problems faced after Camille was a complete lack of coordination among scores of non-profit organizations responding. Many groups had similar strengths and interests; others lacked resources and weren’t able to deploy as effectively. It was clear that recovery suffered significantly as a result of poor communication, a misunderstanding of common goals, and inter-organizational politics.
What is NVOAD
NVOAD was founded to create a common, hierarchical structure composed of all responding organizations. Members from any organization can serve as a state chair, or on a national or international committee. The coordination has tremendously improved a coherent response among organizations, where each one can assist with its own unique strengths, while simultaneously supporting the effort as a whole.
How to get involved
We encourage you to look up your state chapter (list of links here: http://www.nvoad.org/states
). There are great organizations not far from you, with rich histories of helping others in a myriad of ways. Many of them are faith-based; several focus on helping injured or displaced animals; others help children or rebuild homes. Consider joining one of these organizations and learning how you can help, before the next disaster strikes your region. As you may know, spontaneous volunteers (untrained volunteers not affiliated with specific organizations) often show up in large numbers after a disaster, with no access to logistical planning, safety equipment or training. It is far, far safer to affiliate with a recovery organization in advance of a disaster so that you can take classes and learn how to maximize your effort. The American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/
) and Team Rubicon (http://teamrubiconusa.org/
) are two excellent examples of organizations that empower volunteers by training them to do important, complex tasks in advance. For example, do you know CPR? Do you know what an N95 mask is?
We at recovers can think of no better way to spend your free time than learning how to help your community – or another’s community. The immense reach and talent of NVOAD member organizations is the best place to start. Get involved!