With areas of West Virginia ravaged by torrential rains and flooding, the IEEE-USA MOVE vehicle was called into action by the American Red Cross to aid struggling residents in the face of tragedy.
The West Virginia flooding has left 26 people dead. Thousands are homeless and without power and other utility services. As many as 60 roads are closed. A number of houses torn from their foundations suffered ruptured natural gas lines. Many caught fire and exploded.
“In a matter of minutes, raging flood waters displaced people and dramatically altered their lives. Even now, the water lines on the trees show the incredible depth of the historic flooding,” MOVE program director Mary Ellen Randall said. “As IEEE volunteers we are honored to lend a hand to the recovery efforts.”
The MOVE truck is in the areas surrounding Charleston, W.Va. It is the vehicle’s first disaster-relief deployment. Its three primary functions are:
- Keeping relief workers’ cell phones charged
- Bringing much-needed technology assets to the field
- Providing temporary technology infrastructure so people can connect and communicate
The MOVE vehicle features a satellite system for wireless Internet access. The truck boasts a solar-paneled roof and carries a 10-kilowatt generator and rechargeable batteries for storing energy. This allows hundreds of portable power banks to be recharged simultaneously.
“Because of the MOVE truck, the Red Cross can bridge the communication gap for folks in the middle of this disaster,” said Barry Porter, regional chief executive officer of the Red Cross in Eastern North Carolina. “People can use the vehicle’s Internet to connect family members, and its generator is able to charge cell phones and laptops.
“IEEE is helping the Red Cross to alleviate some stressors for folks in an emergency situation.”
IEEE-USA volunteers were asked Saturday to bring MOVE to West Virginia. They arrived Sunday night and have been assisting other volunteers from around the country. The vehicle only travels to disaster areas at the request of the Red Cross. It made its public debut in early April.
The MOVE Community Outreach initiative is funded by IEEE-USA and the IEEE Foundation. Donations to cover operating costs are welcome. https://ieeefoundation.org/move.
IEEE-USA serves the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of nearly 200,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE.