An Ireland-based husband-and-wife team behind a charity that brought emergency communications systems to earthquake-stricken Haiti in 2010 and to New York following Hurricane Sandy have been invited to the White House in February to help devise new ways to respond to future disasters.
The charity Disaster Tech Lab, previously known as Haiti Connect, was deployed in New York where it established a command centre in the Rockaways.
The organisation took on a global focus after more than two and a half years of work in Haiti, where it deployed more than 30 successful projects to provide emergency communications systems.
Following the New York deployment, Evert Bopp and his wife Kate have been invited to attend a policy meeting with the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about its Think Tank and what it did to facilitate communications in the post-Sandy environment at the White House on 6 February.
Former homes in Rockaway, New York. The homes had burned down during the Hurricane Sandy disaster
“We deployed to New York after receiving a request for assistance from a US-based relief agency that we had worked with in Haiti,” said Evert Bopp.
“This organisation had established a command centre in the Rockaways but the existing communication systems were destroyed and there were no emergency communication systems available,” Bopp said.
The White House meeting is centred on finding new and improved ways to respond to future disasters.
Shortly after the White House meeting, the Bopps will participate in a disaster response exercise organised by the US Navy Postgraduate School in California.
In the first quarter of this year, they plan to release the first version of a suite of disaster response communications software in tandem with a plan to secure more wireless equipment and recruit additional volunteers.
Bopp also said the plan is to continue to raise support for the charity.
“We have a main equipment sponsor, Aruba Networks, which has been supporting us since 2010, but in order to continue our work we need to constantly raise funds. For this we are dependent on the generosity of third parties,” Bopp said.
Evert Bopp with humanitarian award-winner Alison Thompson, founder of Third Wave, during operations in New York recently