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American Red Cross has a limited physical presence in other countries, since each of those countries has its own Red Cross organization. We do deploy a limited number of pre-trained personnel (when requested) as well as shipping supplies and funds in coordination with our worldwide movement. If you are looking for direct involvement overseas you may want to check with the www.interaction.org web site to determine on a disaster or event specific basis, what over 160 humanitarian organizations are doing.

Volunteer prospects with no prior disaster relief experience or technical skills are rarely accepted by many of these organizations, including American Red Cross. The bulk of disaster response activities are handled by relief professionals from the international community and from the region affected. Well-intentioned foreigners, lacking technical skills, disaster experience, and familiarity with the local culture and language, can seriously complicate relief efforts.

People with previous disaster or international experience, as well as technical skills (for example, medicine, communications, logistics, water/sanitation, engineering, etc) may be needed. Agencies may, however, require a time commitment of three months or longer. Those interested in pursuing volunteer possibilities can register their skills with The Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) at www.cidi.org.

Many agencies do seek volunteers to work in non-emergency situations to help communities in the developing world. A publication entitled Global Work, available from InterAction, lists volunteer, internship, and fellowship opportunities around the world. A geographic and program index helps guide readers with specific interests. For more information, contact InterAction's Publications Office. Their most current addresses and links are on their web-site.

For information about local activities and opportunities to volunteer with international services in our chapter, contact your Volunteer Manager, check our volunteer section or send us an email.

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