Looking Through a New Lens for Disaster Relief
With yet another national disaster unfolding before us, I've just cut my honeymoon short to begin prep for helping Houston.
With erratic weather patterns increasing, the number of billion dollar disasters on the rise*, and an increasingly unstable federal government, the road ahead for Louisiana and Texas looks long. And quite simply, I'm tired. And, so are many of the other thousands of volunteers who have given so unselfishly of their lives, time and money over the past few disasters.
Last year I personally raised over 150k in resources, worked for months on end for free and traveled back and forth across the country every few weeks at my own expense to be there first-hand through Louisiana's last flood crisis.
I had to - it's home and so many of the people I love were affected... all at the same time. And I know many beautiful people who have donated MUCH MORE at a GREAT COST to their health, families, and own financial security.
There are droves of volunteers across the nation who have helped to make the current recovery progress possible, but it simply hasn't been enough. Many people in my home state are still living with PTSD in disaster induced poverty, so I have ask "how long and how hard we can continue to do this?"
The risk of catastrophic events will not decrease* - the number of people negatively affected will grow and our responsibility to mankind in need will not diminish.
Besides being cursed with a heart that actually cares, remembering that we could be next, fuels my need to find better and more effective ways to help.
We know that giving anything - time, money, resources, and energy is a sacrifice for the average citizen, and yet they are the most likely to respond when called upon.
My goal, and the goal of the forward-thinking organizations and non-profits I'm working with is, to figure out how we can activate the most people to participate in recovery, and then make the most of their offerings?
A few areas we're working on:
* Increase knowledge for future events with relevant data.
* Better anticipate survivor needs in each phase of recovery.
* Increase the efficiency of non-profit, private and governmental agencies.
* Utilize technology for improved and more targeted response.
I'm excited about the ground-breaking work by people like the team at Crowd Relief who are developing cutting edge apps to make rescue, relief, and rebuild easier and faster. The know-how is there, but they need our financial support. (They developed the technology that allowed the Cajun Navy and Texas Navy to perform all of those rescues.)
It's time to stop doing more, and learn to do it better, smarter, and faster. We must prepare now, the next big one's coming.
We must learn from the past and pay attention to the present so that we can ensure our future.
Heading to Houston with a heavy heart and HOPE.
* Statistics and references noted below.
- Flooding and storm damage in Texas and Louisiana is expected to cost as much as $100 billion to clean up and repair the damage.
- While Harvey is on pace to be one of the most costly disasters in U.S. history, it isn't the only devastating natural disaster to hit the U.S. this year.
- Hurricanes are the most frequent $1 billion disasters and are also the costliest on average between 1980 and 2017. According to NOAA, the trend indicates a recent increase in $1 billion disasters.