In 1969, after Hurricane Camille, it became clear to organizations that regularly helped disaster victims that their services were frequently duplicated and uncoordinated. Representatives from several national organizations began to meet on a regular basis to share their respective activities, concerns, and frustrations in disaster response. They established the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and conducted their first annual meeting in 1971.
Later, in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo (1989) (DR-844) , the California earthquakes, and Hurricane Andrew (1992), it was abundantly clear that no single organization could handle disaster response on the scale required. Learning that coordination at the state and local level was crucial, servicing state VOADs became part of the national mission in 1996. Almost every state and territory in the US now has a VOAD organization, and there are a growing number of VOADs in local communities.
In North Carolina, a group of statewide disaster response leaders began meeting in 1998 to discuss the possibility of establishing a state VOAD organization. After electing officers, developing by-laws, and establishing a Disaster Coordination Plan, the group entered into an official Cooperative Agreement with National VOAD and North Carolina VOAD was chartered in October 1999.
Hurricane Floyd (EM-3146-NC) hit NC in September 1999 and NC VOAD has done an exceptional job leading volunteers in response, recovery and then preparation ever since. A full time Director was hired and a subordinate organization, North Carolina Interfaith Disaster Response (NCIDR), was formed to organize and lead 20 Interfaith and Long Term Recovery Organizations. Tested again with Isabel in 2003, the organization proved valuable and due to lack of funding, the Director position was terminated. Remaining officers were able to respond to Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and NC VOAD managed to continue to flourish and hosted a successful National Annual VOAD Conference in Raleigh in 2006.
Thirty confirmed tornadoes occurred in North Carolina on April 16, 2011, the greatest one-day total for North Carolina on record. A total of 24 individuals lost their lives in North Carolina with thirteen tornadoes classified as strong, some hitting highly-populated areas. 21 Counties received a federal disaster declaration for Individual Assistance. This event led NC VOAD to foster development of Long-Term Recovery Groups many of which remain active today. The previous policy of building an organization and allowing it to dissolve following a disaster was abandoned and efforts to establish sustainable organizations began. NC VOAD followed a procedure of daily conference calls including members and other responders to connect needs with supplies and direct responders to areas of greatest need. These practices continue to be observed with each disaster.
Hurricane Irene made landfall on North Carolina’s Outer Banks as a Category 1 Hurricane on August 27, 2011, causing widespread destruction and flooding. 38 counties were federally declared for Individual Assistance.
Tropical Storm Julia caused severe flooding in North Carolina on September 19, 2016. Parts of North Carolina received as much as 12 in of rain. Flooding occurred in Bertie, Hertford, and Currituck Counties. In Bertie County alone, a total of 72 people had to be rescued from their homes, while 61 others were evacuated from nursing homes. Hurricane Matthew struck a few weeks later and homes damaged by TS Julia were covered in that federal declaration.
Hurricane Matthew (DR-4285) made landfall in North Carolina on October 8, 2016 as a Category 1 storm, causing catastrophic damage and killing 28 people. Due to its inland storm track, Matthew caused extensive damage and ultimately 45 counties received a federal disaster declaration for Individual Assistance. The damage occurred from inland flooding due to heavy rainfall from the hurricane as well as inland rainfall from an overland storm system blocked from eastward movement by the hurricane. In some cases, the flood crests occurred as late as 10 days after hurricane landfall. 28 different volunteer organizations assisted during early response phase. Volunteer organizations estimated that repair and rebuilding homes with insufficient insurance, homeowner assets, and government loans and grants would take four years. Due to resource demands of subsequent hurricanes Florence, Dorian, and Isaias, the work is still in process. NC VOAD assisted in the formation of around ten new Long-term Recovery Groups.
Hurricane Florence (DR-4393) made landfall in North Carolina on September 14, 2018 as a Category 1 storm, causing catastrophic damage and killing 28 people. Ultimately 31 counties received a federal disaster declaration for Individual Assistance. In contrast to Matthew’s damage, due to Florence’s coastal storm track, extensive storm surge caused flooding to coastal communities, including record flooding in Wilmington. All roads to Wilmington were closed for eight days due to flooding for eight days; supplies and responders could only reach the city by airplane or boat. Florence damage included many of the same counties damaged by Matthew as well as many coastal counties spared by Matthew. NC assisted in the formation of six Long-Term Recovery Groups.
Hurricane Dorian (DR-4465) made landfall in North Carolina on September 6, 2019 as a Category 2 storm. Prior to landfall at Cape Hatteras (Dare County) the storm caused significant damage to Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender counties. NC VOAD assisted in the formation of one Long-term Recovery Group.
Hurricane Isaias (DR-4568) made landfall as a Category 1 near Ocean Isle Beach in Brunswick County on August 3, 2020, with sustained winds of 85 mph. Isaias produced six confirmed tornadoes in the state. In Bertie County, a deadly EF-3 tornado killed two and injured 14 near the town of Windsor. In Brunswick County, an EF-1 tornado with maximum winds of 105 mph hit Bald Head Island, causing an 8.3 mile damage path. Additional tornadoes struck in Brunswick, Beaufort, and Hertford counties.