As Hurricane Irma sweeps across the U.S. causing extensive damage, CrowdRelief, a Louisiana based initiative, mobilizes an onslaught of volunteers to help rescue her victims. This current effort is a duplication of the plans executed for Louisiana’s 1000 Year Flood last year and the recent Hurricane Harvey, under the project names the Cajun Navy, the Texas Navy and now the CrowdRelief Florida Rescue Team.
The founders of the Cajun Relief Foundation and now CrowdRelief, Rob Gaudet and Melissa Adair, co-engineered the first Cajun Navy from behind the scenes in response to Louisiana’s severe flooding last August (2016).
“In the first days of our involvement with the Cajun Navy it became clear to us that this new model was a form of organic rescue where concerned citizens would gather online to work with others who had equipment on the ground to ‘rescue’ other citizens in need.” – Rob Gaudet
Cajun Relief’s leadership team spent the past year in Baton Rouge assisting the community following the torrential rain storm which damaged or destroyed 150,000 homes.
“We proved with the Cajun Navy that positioning technology for engaging local citizens during a disaster is faster, more effective and costs much less than waiting for relief from an outside organization.” – Melissa Adair
To carry the idea beyond the Cajun Navy, the team at the Cajun Relief Foundation created CrowdRelief. CrowdRelief technology allows anyone to play a role in disaster rescue and relief even if they are not in the geographic area of the disaster. The platform is designed to enable tech savvy citizens, and rescuers to work together. The “dispatchers” use social media to accept internet based help requests, and they dispatch those needs to citizens who are on the scene to meet the need.
CrowdRelief also leverages citizen compassion for collaborative and efficient long term recovery work. The web and mobile platform developed for nonprofits and citizens, allows them to work together on long term recovery strategies, and CrowdRelief also has additional apps in development to increase future productivity.
“The goal of Cajun Relief and its partner groups is to increase a knowledge base for future catastrophic events with relevant data; to better anticipate survivor needs in each phase of recovery; to increase the efficiency of non-profit, private and governmental agencies; and to utilize technology for an improved and more targeted response.”
– Shanna Forrestall
CrowdRelief is currently seeking additional volunteers to assist with rescue and recovery projects from the current storms, as well as partners for continued app development. Learn more at www.crowdrelief.net.
Follow the current Texas Navy initiative at www.facebook.com/texasnavy Donate to the work of the Cajun Relief Foundation at www.cajunrelief.org/donate.