Hurricanes in the Gulf. Tsunamis in the Pacific. Earthquakes in the Middle East. Floods in Central America. The size, scope and strength of each of this year's natural disasters has left millions of people displaced and without the bare necessities of life. The events also have left many more wondering how they can help those in need.
PM reported earlier how many of the industry's top manufacturers and associations donated money and materials, and matched employee contributions, as a way to offer assistance. As rebuilding efforts begin, assessments by FEMA, the Red Cross and other agencies show that top priorities will continue to be monetary donations, as well as companies performing debris clearance, roofing, and water and sewer restoration. Here are some updates and resources you can use to continue to help those in need.
Looking To Help: As of Oct. 11, the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers has finished pumping out New Orleans, which was flooded by Hurricane Katrina and swamped later by Hurricane Rita. The temporary levees are nearly complete and a task force has begun to rebuild the system to its pre-Katrina condition before next year's hurricane season, June 1.
The USACE has set up a contractor resource Web site where businesses can sign up to become subcontractors in the rebuilding effort with companies awarded contracts through the USACE. Currently it lists top-priority industries, and the site will be updated as needs change. Contact the companies directly for opportunities. They are listed at www.mvk.usace.army.mil/contract.
Also, the Labor Department's Office of Small Business Programs has developed the Hurricane Contracting Information Center (www.rebuildingthegulfcoast.gov) to provide a central point of reference for small businesses, especially minority- and women-owned businesses, to register for and become aware of federal contracting opportunities in the Gulf Coast region.
For other ways to help, both FEMA and the USACE have been directing inquirers to the national clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities, which was set up by the current administration, and spearheaded by former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. The site, www.usafreedomcorps.gov, features a section devoted to hurricane relief where individuals and businesses - large and small - can sign up to volunteer time, resources and money to specific devastated areas.
Looking To Hire: For displaced workers in affected areas, or those looking to relocate permanently, visit the following Internet resource sites: