34: International Disaster Response

After a major disaster has been in the news for several days in a row, people will contact the Red Cross chapter where I volunteer and insist that they must fly immediately to the disaster area to help out those poor people in Somalia, India, Japan, or, this week, the Philippines.  While there are a few people who already possess the needed skills and/or experience to justify spending thousands of dollars to fly that person to the affected area, most of us need hundreds of hours of training and several years of domestic disaster experience before we qualify for such a ticket.  Of the hundreds of responders I’ve met over the years, only a handful qualified as international responders.

But it is possible to become one of that handful.  In a news release dated November 11th, the Darke County Chapter of the American Red Cross announced that one of their local volunteers was being sent to the Philippines.  For security reasons I will not mention his identity over the air, but he is an amateur radio operator being sent to set up and operate a portable Red Cross satellite earth station for communications use.  He has been a domestic Red Cross disaster responder for years, and I look forward to hearing about his international assignment when he returns.