Nebraska Supports Texas during Hurricane Harvey Response
Nebraska state agency representatives met at the State Emergency Operations Center at Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)on Monday to discuss Nebraska’s support of the response to Tropical System Harvey. Gov. Pete Ricketts has asked that state agency staff work together to support the Texans and Louisianans affected by the severe flooding. Daily conference calls will continue as the state continues to support the affected areas.
Through the Emergency Management Assistance Program (EMAC), Nebraska Emergency Management Agency officials receive requests from other states for needed personnel and equipment for the response and recovery in Texas and Louisiana. EMAC is a mutual aid agreement between states and territories of the United States. It enables states to share resources during disasters.
State agencies are developing plans on how they could support the impacted states.
Nebraska National Guard
The Nebraska National Guard is supporting the ongoing Tropical Storm Harvey relief efforts in Texas with 7 helicopters – 3 UH-60 Blackhawks, 2 CH-47 Chinooks and 2 UH72 Lakotas – with 37 soldiers from units based in Lincoln and Grand Island. Three helicopters and crews are in route while the other four aircraft are currently conducting relief operations in the Houston area. The Nebraska National Guard is standing by to provide additional equipment and soldiers to Texas if requested. Pictures are available on the National Guard Facebook and Twitter pages at:
Nebraska Task Force 1
Nebraska Task Force 1 (NET F1), the urban search and rescue team based with Lincoln Fire and Rescue, continues to assist with Tropical Storm Harvey search, rescue and other operations. Pictures and information are available on the NETF1 social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at:
How Can You Help?
When disaster strikes, Nebraskans are quick to ask: “How can I help?” NEMA offers the following advice for Nebraskans who want to support Texas and Louisiana residents affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“We always try to promote the message that cash is the best option,” said NEMA Assistant Director Bryan Tuma. “Pick a reputable organization and send funds to be used for what is needed most. Instead of sending a case of water to people in need, it is much cheaper to donate money to a charitable organization who can use the funds to purchase a pallet of water that can be sent using an already established transportation and distribution network to get the supplies to where they are needed most.”
Donating specific household items to disaster survivors can create a burden on responding agencies, as they must collect, sort, clean and distribute items. Send money instead and let volunteers continue working to provide direct services to survivors. Remember:
- Send money, not physical items.
- Money goes further to provide direct assistance to those in need.
- Donated money can be used to purchase items in the affected areas and contributes to the area’s economic recovery.
- Seek out local Citizen Corps programs to receive disaster prep training.
- Take steps now to plan ahead for a disaster. Prepared communities = resilient communities. https://www.ready.gov/
Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) has a webpage with information on volunteering or donating to relief efforts for people affected by Hurricane Harvey. It also includes a link for corporate in-kind donations. Please visit: National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website. The Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD) has a list of vetted disaster relief organizations providing services to survivors. Texas VOAD represents more than three dozen faith-based, community, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.
The American Red Cross currently has about 1,000 volunteers, from all over the country, working to provide shelter and comfort to people impacted by the storm. You can help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
After receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from citizens and companies who want to help, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County, Texas, Judge Ed Emmett established the Greater Houston Community Foundation Relief Fund which will accept tax deductible flood relief donations for victims who have been affected by the recent floods. To donate, visit: ghcf.org/hurricane-relief. The fund will be housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.
Other area organizations mentioned in the Harris County Texas news release include: the United Way www.unitedwayhouston.org and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) (nvoad.org).
Register to volunteer with a voluntary or charitable organization which are already in Texas supporting survivors. The National VOAD and Texas VOAD websites are offering links to those who wish to register to volunteer with community- and faith-based organizations working in the field.
Another important reminder for people who want to help: do not self-deploy to a disaster site and expect to volunteer. Volunteers must first contact a local disaster response organization to see if they are sending volunteers to impacted areas.
“It is important to make arrangements before arriving at a disaster to volunteer,” Tuma said. “Showing up unexpectedly may result in you being turned away by law enforcement. Volunteer safety is important and people arriving without a specified assignment, safety gear and valid identification creates problems.”