How to Help Storm Victims

Published on September 30th, 2017

The Coast Guard is discouraging private boaters departing the continental United States from transiting to ports affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

While volunteers and aid are needed and welcomed, it is recommended that these efforts be coordinated through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who has requested volunteers to go through National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD).

Uncoordinated volunteer efforts can hinder the response and impede a challenging logistics situation on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“The outpouring of volunteers and desire to help our fellow Americans following Hurricanes Irama and Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is nothing short of inspiring,” said Capt. Ladonn Allen, chief of prevention for the Coast Guard Seventh District. “But we discourage people from entering affected ports, many of which are still littered with wreckage and debris, particularly outside the federally maintained channels.

“Individuals entering unfamiliar ports or attempting to bring supplies without coordinating through volunteer organizations that are working with FEMA and its partners are putting themselves in danger.”

NVOAD is an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provide a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration; and foster more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster. Find more information at

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