Volunteer Support for Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

Engineers Without Borders USA’s thoughts go out to the victims of the catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey. We recognize that the unique skills of engineers are critical right now to keep the flood effects at bay and in the future as rebuilding begins.

We are not a disaster relief organization, but we do have a population of highly skilled volunteers that are eager to lend their help now and that we can assist in mobilizing for future needs such as safety evaluations and structural assessments.

How You Can Register to Help

Our headquarters office has been in touch with FEMA this week to learn more about how our volunteers can support efforts on the ground. Their request is that individuals or groups register at www.NVOAD.org.

On August 29, 2017, they offered this advisory to volunteers:

The State of Texas is asking volunteers to not self-deploy, as unexpectedly showing up to any of the communities that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey will create an additional burden for first responders.

The National VOAD has also noted the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering the impacted zone and individuals may find themselves turned away by law enforcement.

To ensure volunteer safety, as well as the safety of disaster survivors, volunteers should only go into affected areas with a specific volunteer assignment, proper safety gear, and valid identification.

At this time, potential volunteers are asked to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already in Texas and supporting survivors on the ground.

The National and Texas VOAD websites are offering links to those who wish to register to volunteer with community- and faith-based organizations working in the field.

Most importantly, please be patient. Although the need is great, and desire to help strong, it is important to avoid donating material goods or self-deploying to help until communities are safe and public officials and disaster relief organizations have had an opportunity to assess the damage and identify what the specific unmet needs are.

Volunteer generosity helps impacted communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters, but recovery lasts much longer than today. There will be volunteer needs for many months, and years, after the disaster, so sign up now.

Tropical Storm Harvey is still dangerous, with the potential to impact additional areas of Texas and Louisiana. As the situation changes, needs may also change in these areas. Continue monitoring traditional and social media channels to learn more.

Let HQ Help You Get the Message Out

EWB-USA members are welcome to register with NVOAD as individuals. EWB-USA and Community Engineering Corps will register as groups available for long-term recovery solutions. As requests come in for engineering services, CECorps will solicit help from our EWB-USA chapters. We ask that you keep our headquarters office apprised of your individual activities and outcomes by emailing cecinfo@ewb-usa.org. This will empower us to use our social media channels to help share your messages and connect you to others interested in supporting your efforts.

About the Author
Engineers Without Borders USA builds a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.