Natural Disasters : Challenges And Strategies

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Volunteer Management in Response to Natural Disasters: Challenges and Strategies Cameron P. Beilly Florida Atlantic University On August 29, 2005, just after 9:00 am, Hurricane Katrina made landfall just east of New Orleans, Louisiana (Drye, 2010). Winds near the downtown area were upwards of 125 mph, causing intense wind gusts and 40-foot high tidal surges (Drye, 2010). At 11:00 am, a major levee in the city failed, causing walls of water to come pouring into New Orleans proper (Drye, 2010). Throughout the day, other levies failed leading to a vast citywide flood (Drye, 2010). At least 1,836 people lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Katrina. For days, New Orleans was unrecognizable. Eighty percent of the city was left…show more content…
In order to respond to these devastating events and provide aid to those left in the aftermath, humanitarian relief organizations have to quickly prepare and implement large-scale relief activities, with only a short period of time to do so (Lassiter et al., 2015). To do this efficiently, relief organizations look to the volunteer base. However, because of the limited resources available after natural disasters and the unstable, often dangerous conditions in affected areas, volunteer management is a difficult problem (Lassiter et al., 2015). Moreover, often times due to the large-scale nature of these disasters, relief organizations need to train additional, otherwise unqualified volunteers in order to utilize them in the various tasks of their relief effort, further complicating an already complex relief coordination system (Lassiter et al., 2015). This essay first describes the existing framework present in the United States to coordinate volunteers to assist in the aftermath of a natural disaster and the role nongovernmental organizations have in its implementation, then analyzes the key factors and challenges that affect volunteer management during such extraordinary times, before finally presenting additional strategies for managing the issues described throughout the analysis. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford
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