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National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) and American Red Cross Appraise Diversity.

Groups Urged to Formalize Partnerships Prior to Disaster

National VOAD Members Will be Available for Interviews and Photos Wednesday May 10 - Friday May 12, 2006 at the 14th Annual National VOAD Conference

RALEIGH, N.C., May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The damage caused by the 2005 Hurricane season demonstrated that only the collaborative effort of governmental and non-profit organizations brings the capacity to comprehensively and effectively respond to the massive human needs and sweeping public demand for service. As a result, more than 70 National VOAD members and other organizations that responded to last year's hurricane season met in October to discuss roles, responsibilities, and capabilities of each organization.

"This was a tremendous opportunity for groups to actively prepare to respond to disasters," says Ande Miller, Executive Director of National VOAD. "The significant increase of interest in our diversity and inclusiveness workshop tract at our national conference this year is a confirmation of the importance of the recommendations."

The recommendations are being finalized for presentation at the National VOAD annual conference this week in Raleigh, NC. More than 300 individuals representing agencies from around the country and even as far away as Japan will participate in panel discussions, workshops, and trainings. Many of these sessions will also focus on high risk populations.

"As we all saw again last year, age, income, and health as examples, were all issues that impacted the response and recovery," says Tom Hazelwood, United Methodist Committee on Relief and current Vice President of National VOAD. "Our goal is to assure that partner agencies are prepared to meet the needs of high risk groups when responding to disasters."

National VOAD is not a service delivery organization. Instead, it upholds the privilege of its members to independently provide relief and recovery services while supporting their efforts to do so by providing a forum where national voluntary organizations active in disaster can: Cooperate, Coordinate, Communicate, and Collaborate. National VOAD also provides its members with a strong liaison and a common voice at the federal level of government. National VOAD is one of only two non-profit organizations that is a signatory to the National Response Plan, has a Memorandum of Understanding with FEMA and Citizen Corps and a seat in FEMA's National Resource Coordination Center.

CONTACT: Charlie Moeller of National VOAD, +1-828-439-1914; or Scott Snyder of American Red Cross, +1-202-438-4243

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 10, 2006
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