Partnering for Disaster Relief and Emergency Preparedness
PWNA is a member of National VOAD — National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) — a nationwide forum “where organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle” to support community readiness and navigation of disasters, ranging from disaster preparation to disaster relief/response, recovery and mitigation. The National VOAD coalition includes 50 of America’s most reputable organizations, 55 state/territory VOADS representing local and regional interests, and other members. PWNA is an active member in three state VOAD groups, including South Dakota, Montana and Arizona, and an honorary member of the Mountain West VOAD serving Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico — states that are home to many of the reservations we serve.
With the support of numerous funders and Emergency Management officials, PWNA is facilitating emergency preparedness planning and training projects in remote tribal communities and also providing public education on how disaster aid is different for the reservations. The norm is that tribal communities experience slow mainstream news coverage or response from outside sources during blizzards, floods, hurricanes and other conditions. This only increases the need for a community-based response, so PWNA is investing in tribal readiness before disaster strikes. Waiting until after a disaster is too little too late.
A First Responder for the Reservations
For PWNA, disaster preparedness includes having critical supplies in stock for a rapid response when unexpected emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic arise. The pandemic came on quickly and left tribal communities facing shortages of food, water, sanitizer, toilet paper and other essentials to weather the lockdowns. Communities facing a shortage of stores and a high rate of impoverishment are most affected by disasters like these yet often overlooked for disaster aid. When COVID first took hold in the U.S., Oscar-winning actor Wes Studi put together a PSA asking for donations because we had so many requests for food and water that we needed help to replenish our warehouses. Watch the video: www.nativepartnership.org/wes4covid
Besides a leading resource for disaster preparedness on the reservations, PWNA is a first responder for the reservations in 9 priority states, PWNA often coordinates its emergency response in concert with the American Red Cross, Feeding America and other nonprofits. PWNA evaluates requests from tribes outside its service area on a case-by-case basis.
Red Crescent Code
PWNA subscribes to the Red Crescent Code, an international code of conduct for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in disaster relief. The Red Crescent Code sets forth standards for governmental independence, effectiveness, and impact in delivering NGO services. Developed by the American Red Cross and other entities, the Red Crescent Code closely aligns with the PWNA Way. Our approach to working on the reservations has been a key factor in sustaining more than 1,000 reservation partnerships.