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Aidmatrix Helps Communities Prepare for Disaster Seasons

3 November 2009 3,604 views 2 Comments

–by Governor Scott McCallum–

Summer evokes fantasies of weekends at the beach, vacations with the family and the sun shining brightly through the office window. But for many people around the world, summer brings about images that are far less pleasant: the start of Hurricane Season. Everyone knows what happened to New Orleans in 2005, but what about in 2008? The destruction may not have been as massive or as publicized, but the effect the storm had on several communities was devastating. The state of Louisiana wanted to be better prepared for the hurricane season of 2008, so they joined the National Donations Management Network (NDMN). Aidmatrix worked with the Louisiana State government and Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster (VOAD) partners to train and assist with the NDMN implementation and rollout.

Hurricane Gustav caused more than $4.3 billion in the State of Louisiana alone, according to the National Weather Service. When a disaster strikes, humanitarians nationwide want to contribute to the relief effort. As part of the National Response Framework, States carry the responsibility to manage unsolicited donations and unaffiliated volunteers.  The goal of the NDMN program is to assist the State Donations Managers to reduce the administration time involved in disaster relief and to help match donation offers with nonprofit organizations that are serving those in need. The program also can help our partners efficiently organize the hundreds of unaffiliated volunteers who offer their time and service to aid in the disaster relief effort.

In response to Hurricane Gustav, Gulf States from Texas to Florida were directing their citizens to their State’s donations management portal to help the recovery process. During the two-week period after the disaster, more than $21 million worth of in-kind donations were processed through the NDMN system.  The NDMN was the system facilitating communication and collaboration on these donated offers.

After a large media publicized disaster, donations typically stream in from across the country, even internationally, creating a ‘secondary disaster’.  For example, during the tsunami response of 2005, “one of the glaring examples of inappropriate aid was the mountain of clothing sent to southern India, including heavy sweaters which are useless in the tropical heat. The unwanted clothes ended up dumped on roadsides. Municipal workers had to be diverted from the relief effort to gather them up. As well as blocking roads, wasting workers’ time and taking up storage space, they proved a hazard to local livestock who tried to eat it.” Alert Net, Oct 2005.

One of the benefits of the NDMN is that is enables donors, corporate and individual, to see the real-time needs and offer a donation without actually sending it to the disaster community. This simple step allows States and their nonprofit partners to review an offer before it is moved, saving transportation costs, staff, and potential warehousing costs. The NDMN also facilitates collaboration and communication between states, enabling offers of aid to be easily shared. Private sector and government partners leverage the framework. For example, the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), Business Executives for National Security (BENS), NORTHCOM, and RxResponse have portals on the National Donations Management Network that enable them to amass the needs and share them with their constituents. The NDMN enables them to efficiently share needs and provide aid to the communities in need.

The National Donations Management Network (NDMN) covers more than 81% of the United States’ population. The program, powered by the Aidmatrix Network©, serves State governments and State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOADs) and includes a winning combination of technology, partnership and community. The goal is to reduce the time-consuming manual processes involved in disaster relief and increase the flow-through rate of unsolicited, quality donations to those in need. The net result is more people getting helped more quickly. And that is how Aidmatrix approaches their humanitarian relief around the world: bringing the Right Aid to the Right People at the Right Time™.

Now there exists a framework that helps connect the private sector with government and nonprofit organizations. Aidmatrix is honored to work with those in the disaster response community to assist in their efforts of emergency response and rebuilding. Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, stated, “We have entered the 21st century here and we’ve got something called Aidmatrix”. At Aidmatrix, our goal is to amplify donor contributions, accelerate results to nonprofits, and partner with governments to help make a bigger impact on the world, together.

How you can help make a difference:

  • After a disaster, the nonprofit community assists in to rebuilding communities. They post needs to the State’s NDMN webpage, such as clean-up supplies, construction supplies, and household items such as bedding and kitchen supplies. To donate goods, your services or to make a financial donation  visit http://www.aidmatrixnetwork.org/fema/

2 Comments »

  • Jessica said:

    The field of emergency management is so vast. When you really step back and think about how many elements must go into preparedness, from developing strategies before a disruption actually happens, to figuring out how to use the generosity of strangers to benefit recipients and not cause a “second disaster” (as reference above) it is truly amazing. The innovative solutions arising throughout the world to deal with mitigation and response are staggering. It wasn’t so long ago that it could take weeks to even hear about a disaster in some part of the world, now it hours before “actions” are already in place.

  • Gaston said:

    The AidMatrix Foundation does such good work. Its great to see that States are deploying their supply chain software to help first responders to get help to those in need quickly after disasters.