Volunteering Spotlight: How to Help During Environmental and Humanitarian Crises

With the various natural disasters that have occurred in recent times, we feature just a handful of the non-government-organisations (NGOs) who have responded to ongoing humanitarian and environmental crises in four afflicted regions: Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Haiti. This blog includes information on how to get involved as a volunteer in local and international programs.

If you would like your volunteer organisation featured with regard to these or other disaster areas, please get in contact with us.
Japan: Earthquake and Tsunami

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a media statement  on the 11 March following the earthquate in Japan, saying that ‘the UN would do all it could to mobilize humanitarian assistance and disaster risk reduction teams as soon as possible’. This includes through its Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), and the UN World Food Programme (WFP). For further information on the developing situation, see the UN News Centre.

Australia: Queensland and Victorian Floods

In late December 2010, the northern Australian state of Queensland suffered devastating floods. Trade labourers and conservation workers are still required to assist in reconstruction efforts. Visit the Emergency Volunteers wesbite to register to help. Various NGOs are also seeking volunteers. This includes the Australian Red Cross, which provides food and shelter for displaced families; the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which is seeking volunteers to help care for injured and abandoned animals; as well as various other local community and charity groups. Businesses are also encouraged to partner with local community groups requiring assistance. To join with local groups, visit this site.

The southern state of Victoria, Australia, suffered severe flooding in mid-January 2011. Volunteers are required to help in various clean-up and recovery activities in Victoria’s flood-affected areas. Register your interest here. Local volunteers are preferred due to a shortage of accommodation and facilities. Oz Flood Help is a website that matches service-provision to help people find temporary accommodation or offer a place to stay for Victorian flood victims. You can register to help provide accomodation here.

New Zealand: Christchurch Earthquake

The southern city of New Zealand, Christchurch, suffered an earthquake in late February 2011. The New Zealand government requires specialised and trained rescue and recovery personnel and specialised health professionals who can register to help here. People with physical and intellectual disabilities have been identified as a group that might be especially vulnerable as they might not know where to seek out help, but a hotline has been set up to direct assistance for disabled community members.

Haiti: Earthquake Reconstruction One Year Later

More than one year on, various organisations are continuing to do fantastic work in Haiti. The European Disaster Volunteers (EDV) is a non-government organisation NGO) that aids disaster-affected communities around the world by providing initial relief and by helping communities achieve sustainable recovery.

They work in partnership with various local groups to improve lives and assist during humanitarian crises. For example in 2010 they worked with GrassRoots United to help during the Haiti earthquake.

EDV offers various ways to get involved. You can volunteer overseas or at home for a few days or for longer; you can donate as much money as you can spare; or you can work on deployment. For further information on EDV, to volunteer, donate or get involved, visit their website.

GrassRoots United is a globally deployable, non-profit, emergency response organisation. For further information visit their website.