Natural Disasters - a Time for Collaboration

Natural disasters can occur at any time, having a major effect on communities, businesses and individuals - particularly recent transferees. Good event preparation, and working with a relocation partner, can help aid recovery from these potentially life-altering events.

At any given point in time, a natural disaster can affect the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals, families, and communities. In today's global economy, this can be devastating on many levels. As a result of Hurricane Florence (the most recent natural disaster hitting the eastern United States), electricity was wiped out in no fewer than 400,000 homes. What's more, particularly inland, freshwater flooding could persist for days on end. The aftermath and cleanup of this disaster are expected to continue for some time, impacting thousands of residents and businesses.

Additionally, Typhoon Mangkhut, in China, has made it necessary to move several million people to safer ground. High-rise buildings have been shaken to their core, houses have had their roofs torn off, and China's southern coast was battered beyond recognition by 10-foot tall waves.

Some of the most challenging circumstances presented by these disasters involve, in part, relocating hundreds of employees, whether temporarily or permanently. This creates havoc for the employees themselves and the companies they work for. The key to successful handling of a crisis is that all parties must collaborate. But what is the best way to handle a coordinated group effort of this magnitude?


What Part Do Employees Play?

How an individual handles the aftermath of a disaster can be determined by how prepared they were:

  • The Red Cross offers preparedness tips – Around the world, every day, disasters strike. For this very reason, the Red Cross has put together a collection of common emergencies and helpful information that applies to each of them. For example, their comprehensive website offers material detailing how to tell the difference between a "warning" and a "watch". They also explain emergency preparedness, how to react during a crisis, and what is involved in rebuilding/repairing following a tragedy.
  • Before disaster strikes, plan your strategy – The thing about natural disasters is that there is seldom ample preparation time. To expedite moving to a safer environment, it’s crucial that families should have an assigned central location for the storage of emergency items. Emergency preparations should include first-aid kits, canned goods, water, and so on. Also, identification, home-related papers/pictures, health insurance, and other important/legal documents should be kept in a waterproof container for quick evacuation.

The Role Played by Corporations

For employers to adequately play their part during a disaster, a couple of considerations should be first and foremost:

  • What are your available resources – Particularly in the case of employees who have recently located to the affected area, not everyone will know where to go for help. Representatives of your corporation should provide their employees - before the next disaster is upon them – with critical information: various emergency resources, shelter, evacuation routes that have been government approved, etc. Should temporary housing be needed, companies can utilize vendors and relocation partners to assist in disaster recovery for their employees.
  • At all times, know the location of your employees – and, during a natural disaster, this is seldom easy. During a disaster, information on where employees are living, working and traveling can become critical. In order to respond proactively to a calamity in a timely manner, a company must be able to warn, help prepare, and/or assist in the evacuation of employees threatened by dangerous conditions.
  • Getting people back to work as quickly as possible after the disaster is important for two reasons: An income will help the employees have the means to take care of their families and replace what they lost or damaged in the storm. And second, going to work every day will offer a sense of normalcy to their routine and help people emotionally heal more quickly from frightening events.

How Mobility Service Providers Bring It All Together

Finally, mobility service providers can help coordinate employees and clients so that, together, they can all weather the storm – literally.

  • For those in the path of the natural disaster – Guidance can be offered to employees and clients because of the unique position held by mobility vendors. All over the globe, they have access to the resources needed in order to overcome such a crisis.
  • Mobility service providers expertise – Disaster recovery plans can be outlined and implemented when required, thanks to the experience and knowledge gained by mobility companies through the years.
  • Clients and mobility service providers must partner together – A number of things can be accomplished here: 1) verification beforehand, of employee safety; 2) devise a plan of action; 3) until the event passes, provide necessary guidance and support; and 4) following the catastrophe, offer advice regarding temporary housing. If an employee’s home is mortgaged directly by their relocation partner, assessment and repair guidance in the aftermath of the tragedy should be available through them.

The Natural Progression in Five Steps

When disaster hits, natural or otherwise, it's easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed by confusion and devastation. The magnitude of such an event, however, can be somewhat lessened when mobility service providers, clients, and employees work together toward a successful collaboration. Here are five steps to disaster preparation and recovery: 

  1. Assess Impact and Rescue

    Prior to and during a disaster of any kind, the first step is to assess the damage and rescue any people or animals in harm’s way. Sometimes, there is enough warning to cover windows, pack belongings, and evacuate to safety. Other times, residents are not so lucky.

  2. Daily Survival

    When communities have fled their homes, now is the time to offer food, water, and shelter. This may last anywhere from a day to several months, depending on the amount of damage. Donations are always welcome to assist everyone affected by the disaster through a variety of charitable organizations.

  3. Clean Up Begins

    Clean up - from branches and trees cleared from the roads to buildings torn down and/or rebuilt - requires that everyone (homeowners, business owners, and volunteers) pitch in. The cleanup process may take weeks to months, especially when the disaster contains enormous amounts of rain and water. Waiting for flood waters to recede, cleaning up mold and waste products, and praying that the weather cooperates, is an exhausting and backbreaking job.

  4. Rebuilding Lives

    Once the majority of cleanup is done, citizens can begin returning to their homes. More fortunate residents, whose homes are less damaged, can return to normal more quickly. Others will need furniture, clothing, home goods, and more, replaced or repaired. This may be a slow process.

  5. Back to Work

    If the businesses and buildings are in good shape, employees can head back to work as soon as power is restored and the local government has announced that roads are safe to drive. This will help affected employees move forward emotionally and repair their community financially.

Help and Hope for Recovery

Many thanks to northAmerican® Moving Services for assisting those affected by natural disasters re-establish their lives by donating and delivering furniture, home goods, and more.

To those impacted by Typhoon Mangkhut and Hurricane Florence, northAmerican Moving Services offers our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers for their safety and speedy recovery.

Categories: Corporate