If I have one thing that wakes me in the middle of the night it is having 100’s, no thousands of spontaneous volunteers showing up after a catastrophic event! But that would never happen, right? Read this then come back, lets talk!
In April there was an earthquake near Longmen Township China that killed 160 and injured over 1,600. But that is not the story I want to highlight here. What we want to consider is what happened after.
Consider the words of Luo Ming the team leader with the Sichuan Emergency Response Volunteer Group “The volunteers have created a certain kind of disaster themselves,” he says, speaking with the rapid speech of someone who has not slept in 48 hours. “It seems like there are more volunteers than there are earthquake victims. They have no place to sleep, and nothing to eat, and most of them have no experience or training.”
There were so many people streaming into the area that the government had to block the area off and restrict access.
While I believe there are places for spontaneous volunteers; the ones who are there when it happens and pitch in the save their neighbors and secure the area. But having people just show up with no training and no support is just adding to the problem.
One of the things that a catastrophic disaster has is lack of everything, food, water, bathrooms, places to sleep; why would someone insert himself or herself into that? Because they don’t understand the problem!
First we need to know who you are?
What skills do you have?
Are you committed or just a disaster tourist?
What support do you have (or do we as an organization provide)?
Can we utilize your skills (or lack of) outside the disaster area in support?
Your local emergency manager is going to busy trying to help the community; lets not give them another thing to worry about. So please pick one:
1. If you really desire to be part of the solution, please go register for an organized group:
2. Or stay home