The editors of the hyper-local news service Patch.com seem understand that there are local connections to international events. And they are willing to really work those connections.
The Fairfax team — VATF1 for Virginia Task Force 1 — was created in 1986, a year after the Mexico City earthquake.
The Task Force began its humanitarian response relationship with the US Agency for International Development – Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID-OFDA) in 1986 following a tragic 1985 seismic event in Mexico City. Realizing the void of qualified search and rescue resources in the Americas Region, USAID-OFDA joined in a strategic partnership with Fairfax County and the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Departments to develop a self-sustainable response resource. Its first deployment was to the former Soviet Armenia in 1988 in the aftermath of a large earthquake.
I saw first hand the importance of SAR teams from around the world in the Mexico earthquake. Since that time, other communities around the United States set up similar special teams to aid in disaster relief.
Many of these teams were deployed to New Orleans after Katrina hit. They also went to China and Haiti to help after the earthquakes in those countries.
The activities of these teams are all local stories waiting to be told. And those stories of international issues can be told without sending one reporter overseas.