Fuel saves lives. Immediately following a major disaster, fuel is needed within the first minutes to allow first responders and aid agencies to perform critical life-saving functions in the midst of the chaos. As water, shelter, and food, fuel are all crucial to surviving a disaster - fuel is needed during all phases of the disaster to access people in need, provide relief and assist in recovery. Fuel is used to provide emergency medical services and shelter, to deliver food and clean water, as well as to heat camps, power equipment and ensure light source. Fuel Relief Fund exists to fill the crucial gap in fuel supply during the initial phases of the disaster, during which the most urgent life-saving efforts take place. During this time, our focus is to assist affected communities and relief agencies in saving lives and alleviating suffering.

Fuel Relief Fund (FRF), is a volunteer-driven 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization based in the United States and the Netherlands. FRF has a ten-year track record of successfully solving emergency fuel needs in major disasters across the globe. FRF is comprised of teams of highly trained, specialized volunteers within the disaster response, fuel industry and related sectors. Our teams deploy to the scene of a major disaster, utilizing industry expertise and provide fuel distribution resources to re-open the fuel supply chain in the affected area. FRF’s relationship with national and international fuel companies grants the ability to access all types of fuel and secure its transport. FRF is the only charitable organization in the world focused exclusively on resolving the systemic gap in fuel supply after major disasters, and providing free fuel to affected people and relief agencies alike.

FRF was established in 2005 with its rapid response to Hurricane Katrina. Immediately after the hurricane, FRF brought tankers across states to fill the gap in fuel availability. With the fuel we provided, relief agencies delivered aid to thousands of people in affected communities, and power temporary shelters and hospitals. Based on this experience, FRF developed a tested methodology accepted worldwide for providing fuel including propane, kerosene, gasoline, diesel, heating oil, coal, and other energy sources needed after disasters in California, Japan, Nepal, Haiti, and throughout the world.

FRF’s methodology is simple, yet effective. Board members agree within 24 hours to respond, and our team of highly skilled, trained volunteers then immediately deploys to the local area in need. They utilize cash reserves earmarked for the deployment, and once on the ground, they liaise with humanitarian aid and government agencies to identify needs, prioritize and coordinate delivery of fuel to the areas of greatest need. Coordinating with agencies on the ground, FRF determines what type of fuel is needed, for what purpose and to whom, and organizes rapid supply chain, working together with local administration and community members to fulfill the delivery in the affected areas.

Bill Lavin, an Elizabeth, New Jersey fire captain assisting Fuel Relief Fund in Hoboken, New Jersey, claimed: “I couldn’t help but noticing, there was a line for water 20 people long, a line for food 30 people deep, and then looked at the line for fuel which stretched 250 to 300 strong. Without fuel, not much else can get accomplished.”

FRF has developed a reputation of being a reliable, efficient and effective first responder, deploying and providing fuel after mega-disasters including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina in the United States, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the earthquake in Bam, Turkey, the great Tōhoku earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, and most recently the 2015 Nepal earthquake disaster. Our teams have delivered hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel, propane, gasoline and cooking fuel, impacting hundreds more thousands of people, and enabling the life-saving work of countless first responders, relief agencies and community organizations – including Doctors without Borders, FEMA, World Vision, Save the Children, the International Federation of the Red Cross, hospitals and clinics, water sanitation agencies, police and firefighters, and many more.

FRF’s founder, Ted Honcharik, had met the then-director of UN OCHA, Valerie Amos at Typhoon Haiyan (1). Ms. Amos was on the scene in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake, with UN vehicles ready to deploy and perform assessments. Without fuel, they were unable to travel. Valerie asked her Operations Director, “Is Fuel Relief Fund coming?” “Yes,” he replied, “They're already here.” Not only were they already there, but had already identified the closest diesel source in Singapore, and delivered to OCHA within a day to move their trucks.

In the United States, FRF has worked with FEMA, the Red Cross, and other agencies to provide the same services as it does globally, when disasters strike. For instance when Superstorm Sandy hit US shores, the FRF First Response team dispensed over 35,000 gallons of free fuel to thousands of disaster survivors and to a variety of emergency response vehicles in less than two weeks.

The services we provide to assist affected communities, first responders, relief, government and local agencies are so greatly in need that the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) extended an invitation to FRF to become a UNOCHA operational support partner. FRF signed its agreement with UN OCHA in January 2016, and since then has become a standby partner of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and a partner to the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UN HRD). These agreements affirm our commitment to serving as a reliable partner to the humanitarian community, following the values expressed in the Principles of Partnership adopted by the Global Humanitarian Platform in 2007. (See http://bit.ly/2t0CVUu)

[1] Valerie Amos was under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC) from September 2010 to May 2015. The USG/ERC is responsible for the oversight of all emergencies requiring United Nations humanitarian assistance. S/he also serves as the central focal point for governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental relief activities.