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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Helping communities following the 2017 hurricanes

In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, you may be wondering what you can do to help people in the wake of these disasters.  Start by connecting with a trusted organization, like the National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters. Cash is often best.  

If you are interested in volunteering to help people affected by the storms, there are several opportunities available to you.

In addition, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters has information for individuals who are interested in volunteering with their partner organizations responding to Hurricane Harvey, Irma or Maria.

Because of austere conditions on the ground in disasters, volunteering through organizations is safer and more effective. Vetted disaster relief organizations coordinate with emergency managers and can connect volunteers with food, water, and safe places to sleep, all of which may be difficult for people acting on their own to find.

Now is also a great time to get involved so you are ready to assist in the next disaster.

The Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) is a national network of state-based volunteer registration programs which HHS/ASPR created for disasters and public health emergencies. ESAR-VHP volunteers include primarily health professionals; however, other public health and non-health professionals also can register and fill vital positions. The program verifies health professionals’ identification and credentials in advance, saving valuable time in emergency situations. Join the more than 278,000 volunteers registered across the country.

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a program in HHS/ASPR which supports a national network of community-based groups of volunteers—medical and public health professional and others—who assist their communities in activities that promote and strengthen public health, emergency response, and community resiliency. There are nearly 1,000 MRC units with almost 200,000 volunteers across the country.

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  • This page last reviewed: October 08, 2017