Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation to assist disaster relief efforts in South Asia

from Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation
Published on 05 Jan 2005
Washington, DC - January 5, 2005 - In the wake of the devastating tsunamis that destroyed much of South Asia, VVAF's Information Management & Mine Action Programs (iMMAP) has been activated to participate in the global response to one of the world's worst modern natural disasters.

Using standing emergency resources generously provided by the International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch (IERHB), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), iMMAP will immediately deploy three Information Management (IM)/Geographic Information System (GIS) specialists to assist the United Nations' Joint Logistics Center (JLC) in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Aceh, Indonesia; and Bangkok, Thailand.

At these locations, the iMMAP specialists will gather, collate, and analyze critical relief data regarding at-risk populations, the threats posed by landmines unearthed by massive flooding, the geographic locations of communities, and the logistical operations required to deliver aid to millions of people. This support was requested by the JLC and the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), and is endorsed by CDC. It is expected that the number of specialists provided by VVAF's iMMAP will increase at least three-fold as the global response to this disaster develops.

With more than twenty years of experience providing humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation to innocent civilian victims of war, VVAF as an organization feels a responsibility to assist the relief effort for those people whose lives have been devastated by the overwhelming destruction resulting from last week's tsunamis.

iMMAP's Program Director Joe Donahue said, "VVAF's experience rapidly deploying humanitarian information specialists in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Liberia allows our organization to move quickly to a crisis area and help decision makers to clearly understand what the damage is and what aid is needed where. As the only non-governmental organization with a focus upon rational humanitarian information management, it is critical that VVAF's iMMAP become operational in the affected area as quickly as possible."

Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) is an international humanitarian organization that addresses the causes, conduct, and consequences of war through programs of advocacy and service for victims of conflict around the world. With the volatility of the world on the rise, VVAF's twenty-plus years of on-the-ground experience, a willingness to embrace the toughest challenges, and record of practical success in some of the most war-ravaged parts of the world, VVAF's services are needed now more than ever.

Michael Bennett