Disaster Relief Australia

Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) has been recognised for Outstanding Achievement in The Australian Charity Awards 2021. The Australian Charity Award for Outstanding Achievement [OAA] recognises charitable organisations that have achieved outstanding results through initiatives that have significantly benefited charitable causes.

“Volunteerism is an Australian way of life and deeply rewarding to those who take up the challenge.  Yet there have previously been few avenues for the community to spontaneously volunteer after a disaster. By providing communities with a way in which to do this we can help them cope better with the impact of disasters and bounce back faster.  With almost half of the Australian population living in communities that have a low-to-moderate level of disaster resilience, there is much work to be done.  DRA is proud to be part of this leading effort.”

Geoff Evans, CEO, DRA

Building Community-Led Disaster Relief empowers communities to take control and manage their own resilience. Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) commences disaster relief activities immediately after the disaster response phase – once all emergency services have redeployed within the relief and recovery phases.

Spontaneous volunteering is an important area of community relief and recovery. Spontaneous Volunteers (SponVols) are our neighbours and ordinary community members – they often arrive onsite at a disaster ready and willing to help. Yet, because they are not associated with any part of the existing emergency management response and recovery system, their offers of help are often underutilised and even problematic to emergency management professionals.

The paradox is clear: people’s willingness to volunteer versus the system’s capacity to utilise them effectively.

As a trusted disaster relief organisation DRA can be called upon to manage and lead those wanting to volunteer to assist within their community in the wake of a natural disaster. By onboarding, inducting, leading and supporting SponVols, DRA can significantly increase the assistance provided to disaster affected communities. At the same time DRA can ensure SponVols are employed in a structured, gainful and safe manner. By taking this approach, DRA empowers the communities we serve.

Veterans are suited to lead. The skills obtained during their years of service in the Defence Forces are highly effective in the management of large numbers of SponVols during operations. This also improves veteran’s wellbeing by giving them the opportunity to continue to serve and find purpose. DRA offers a unique opportunity for people who spontaneously volunteer to be part of a humanitarian effort with a unified purpose, mission and intensity similar to military service.

In the wake of a natural disaster, DRA can deploy and provide SponVol management by rapidly onboarding short-term volunteer personnel at an incident site and utilising their skills in teams lead by trained and highly qualified DRA members who are mostly veteran and emergency services specialists.

DRA will achieve this by becoming a trusted and strategic partner in the Disaster Management realm. DRA will become a leading advisor in the management and leadership of SponVols. As an advisor and mentor this success will lead to financed training roles and other aspects such as recruitment, inducting and deploying Spontaneous Volunteers safely and securely as well as strategic planning, managing risk and other training opportunities.

This will help communities to build the capacity to innovate, adapt and recover from a disaster. This includes the presence of a strong community spirit that supports those in need and making the community self-reliant enough to withstand and recover from disasters.

A Disaster Resilient Community harnesses local resources, expertise and community spirit to help themselves in an emergency in a way that complements, but does not depend on, the emergency services and other agencies.

For more information, visit disasterreliefaus.org

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