Quake volunteers help with Sandy cleanup

01:30, Nov 15 2012
Jason Pemberton, Jackson Rowland
BIG TRIP: Volunteer Army Foundation members Jason Pemberton and Jackson Rowland get ready to fly to New York to help with the Hurricane Sandy cleanup.

Two Christchurch volunteers have been rushed to the United States to help those involved in the Hurricane Sandy cleanup.

Volunteer Army Foundation (VAF) members Jason Pemberton and Jackson Rowland today flew to New York after receiving an urgent call from Global Disaster Immediate Response Team to help co-ordinate the volunteer response in Belle Harbour.

The VAF created volunteer dispatch and co-ordination systems after the Canterbury earthquakes, which Pemberton and founder Sam Johnson also implemented in Japan after last year's quake and tsunami.

"We're heading over after a request for co-ordination assistance, and will share the system that we developed through five earthquake cleanups, matching needs and resources, to help prioritise and map requests for optimum efficiency," Pemberton said.

''We're not experts, just a group of people who have done this co-ordination gig a few times now.''

Thousands on the US east coast were still out of their homes, or without power and living in freezing conditions, he said.

''It's always a shock hearing that things are still so bad, but as Christchurch learned, one of the biggest supports after a disaster is a friendly face offering assistance,'' Pemberton said.

The pair is expected to remain in New York for at least two weeks.


The Press