Radio amateurs have a long and proud history of providing communications to alleviate suffering in the wake of natural disasters. With only a low-power HF transceiver, an automobile battery, and a piece of wire for an antenna a skilled operator can establish communication from almost any location. Amateurs use their VHF and UHF allocations for many applications including local networks that operate independently of the commercial telecommunication infrastructure and continue to function when regular communication links are disrupted or overloaded.
IARU member-societies organize and train their individual members and local clubs to be ready to respond in times of need. Each of the three IARU regional organizations has an emergency coordinator whose mission is to support those efforts and to coordinate international assistance as required.
The IARU Emergency Telecommunications Guide is a resource for member-societies.