Urgent call for 3,000 volunteers ahead of disaster season

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  • NAB Foundation grants $1 million to support Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) to double its volunteer army.
  • DRA estimates 100,000 volunteer hours will be needed to support communities this disaster season.
  • The partnership will assist DRA to recruit and manage more than 3,000 community members on stand-by to volunteer.

 

A veteran-led disaster relief organisation that deploys an army of volunteers to help disaster-stricken communities recover urgently needs more help.

DRA anticipates that about 100,000 volunteer hours will be needed to support communities to recover from fire, flood, storm and cyclone disasters.

NAB has today announced a partnership with DRA through the NAB Foundation, granting $1 million plus in-kind support to bolster the organisation’s community and corporate volunteer capacity over the next two years.

NAB Group CEO Ross McEwan said NAB Foundation was embarking on its largest resilience partnership to ensure communities had the resources to help their neighbours get back on their feet faster.

“Organisations like DRA are crucial in getting Australians back on track when disasters strike, just as we saw after the 2022 Brisbane floods when NAB first joined DRA’s army of volunteers,” Mr McEwan said.

“When the floods hit Brisbane, many Australians, including local NAB colleagues, wanted to get out there and volunteer but there wasn’t the capacity to manage spontaneous opportunities. This partnership will fill that gap.

“As a relationship bank, our connections to communities are vital, and we’re here to help support DRA recruit and manage 3,000 community volunteers.”

Disaster Relief Australia launched in 2016, combining the skills and experience of veterans, with emergency service specialists and civilian volunteers to respond to large-scale disasters.

DRA CEO Geoff Evans said it took many hands to get communities back up and running.

“After the fires go out, and the flood waters go down, there are very few organisations equipped with the unique skills and experience of DRA volunteers,” Mr Evans said.

“As former ADF personnel, our volunteers are well-placed to operate effectively within the recovery phase of a disaster and put their military skills to good use serving the community.

“Over the past year, DRA has completed seven operations across Australia and New Zealand, with more than 630 volunteers spending nearly 35,000 hours on the ground supporting community clean-ups,” he said.

“Given disasters have become more protracted and frequent, we forecast spending three times as long in communities over the next two years.

“This partnership to boost our capacity to manage community members on stand-by will help us get more boots on the ground where, and when they’re needed most. This partnership will also assist us in our ongoing goal to recruit more than 5,000 additional DRA volunteers over the next three years.”

The NAB Foundation

The NAB Foundation uses philanthropy, social investment, and in-kind support to fund social and environmental progress in the Australian communities served by the NAB Group. By funding the people and communities who make a real difference, the Foundation aims to help tackle social and environmental challenges.  For more information, visit NAB’s website.

At the October 2022 Budget, the Australian Government agreed to provide $38.1 million over four years to DRA to upscale its organisational capacity and operations and on-board an additional 5,200 volunteers.

To volunteer with DRA or learn more about the organisation, visit the DRA’s website.

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