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VDEM Offers Instructions and Tips for Donating to Help With Hurricane Florence Relief EffortsVisit http://www.vaemergency.gov/get-involved/ to learn the best ways to get involved (and what not to do).
RICHMOND—Many Virginians witnessing the devastation from Hurricane Florence through the media will be compelled to get involved or to donate to assist in relief efforts in the Carolinas. It is important to know the best ways to get involved without risking your own economic or personal safety, and without causing additional burden to those areas receiving unsolicited aid. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) offers these tips on how to donate or volunteer right, and what not to do.TO DONATE TO RELIEF EFFORTS
CASH IS THE FASTEST WAY TO ASSIST DISASTER SURVIVORSCash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources. Many charities specialize in providing relief in disaster areas, yet they face significant financial barriers to getting their staff, equipment, and supplies into impacted areas.Your donation helps put experienced disaster responders on the ground, and gives them the tools they need to help survivors recover. Organizations typically prefer cash donations because they allow organizations to:
At the national level, many voluntary, faith- and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors.
If you’d like to donate to assist those affected by disaster, these organizations are the best place to start.
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website
VA VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS ACTIVE IN DISASTER
VIRGINIA DISASTER RELIEF FUND
TO VOLUNTEER IN THE DISASTER AREASVolunteers should not self-deploy. Unexpected volunteers showing up in impacted areas will create an additional burden for first responders. NVOAD says the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering the impacted zones and individuals may find themselves turned away by law enforcement.
DO NOT SELF DEPLOYSeeing images of disaster may compel you to head to the impacted area. Don't underestimate the complexity of working in a disaster area. Until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support, volunteers should not enter.
Be patient. Recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often years, after the disaster – especially when the community enters the long-term recovery period.
Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained and supported to respond in the most effective way.The impulse to help when others who are suffering is commendable. However, volunteering inside a disaster area can be dangerous, stressful work in extreme environments.If you’d like to volunteer to assist those affected by disaster, these organizations have specific disaster roles and are the best place to start.NATIONAL VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS ACTIVE IN DISASTER (VOAD)VA VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS ACTIVE IN DISASTER