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Under Secretary of Homeland Security Addresses National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Strong Partnership Between Voluntary Organizations and Government Agencies Critical in Times of Increasing Disaster Incidents

DENVER, June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was the keynote speaker at the 13th Annual National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) Conference in Denver, Colorado, on Friday, June 24. Immediately following a disaster, National VOAD, through the affiliated local or state VOAD, facilitates coordination, communication, collaboration and cooperation among its 40 member organizations providing humanitarian relief assistance.

Brown recognized the important role of National VOAD members, including organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities, in the response and recovery of America's communities impacted by disaster. He said, "I can't stress enough the importance of volunteer agencies in responding to emergencies and disasters in this country. The foundation of homeland security is the individual, the family and the community that comes together in times of crisis. Volunteer agencies play a critical role in that."

National VOAD is unique. It is a group of humanitarian organizations that has banded together to provide humanitarian relief to those affected by disaster. This can be reassuring to the American public because there is cooperation and coordination among the National VOAD member agencies and governmental and private partners.

Brown continued to explain the role of FEMA in disaster response, the agency's goals and the National Response Plan (NRP). While incidents of national significance are managed at the local level, bringing in all of a community's resources, the Federal government assists when the scope of the event exceeds the capacity of the state and local regions. The NRP integrates the work of the local agencies, including National VOAD member organizations, with Federal agencies. In today's world where large-scale events are increasing and the population is growing in disaster-prone coastal regions, this collaborative partnership is vital.

This year, the National VOAD became a part of the NRP, which brings new responsibilities and expectations for the 35-year old organization. National VOAD President Jane Morgan said, "National VOAD facilitates the interface between the national disaster relief organizations with the government responders such as FEMA and DHS. As part of the NRP, we are uniquely situated to coordinate not only amongst our member organizations, but also with our government partners." This year's conference also marks a renewed cooperative agreement with JNET, a voluntary organization active in disaster in Japan.

About National VOAD:

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is a coalition of not- for-profit, voluntary organizations that have a role in disaster mitigation, preparation, response and/or recovery. The mission of National VOAD is to foster more effective service to people affected by disaster through communication, coordination, cooperation and collaboration by providing convening mechanisms and outreach. National VOAD has been in existence for 35 years and is comprised of 40 member organizations, state and local branches, as well as government and corporate partners. For more information, visit http://www.nvoad.org/.

CONTACT: Karen Coates, +1-202-439-0716, or Mike Smith, +1-703-623-3834, both for National Voluntary Organizations Active

Web site: http://www.nvoad.org/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 24, 2005
Words:522
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