SEATTLE, June 1, 2011
- Emergency preparedness is key to mitigating impact of natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes
- With hurricane season expected to be above average this year, World Vision has positioned relief supplies throughout Latin America and the southern U.S.
—With the southern United States battered by recent tornadoes
and still recovering from a historic oil spill, as well as ongoing rebuilding in earthquake-ravaged Haiti
, Christian humanitarian organization World Vision
is positioning relief supplies in the United States, Haiti, and other high-risk locations around the world to prepare for an above-average hurricane season.
“Natural disasters can’t be avoided, but we can mitigate the damage by being as prepared as possible,” said Jeff Wright, World Vision’s operations director for emergency response who is currently based in Haiti. “Haiti and the southern U.S. are still reeling from separate disasters, so it’s more important than ever to have all the pieces in place ahead of time.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
is predicting 12 to 18 named storms this Atlantic season, of which 3 to 6 could become major hurricanes.
Hundreds of thousands of people remain in temporary housing after last year’s massive earthquake in Haiti, meaning emergency shelter and access to healthcare will be critical in the aftermath of a hurricane. As a child-focused organization, World Vision is especially concerned about the health risks severe weather can pose to children, including illness, unclean drinking water, and the ongoing threat of cholera.
"Even in developed countries, extreme weather can cause great devastation. We've just witnessed this in the United States. In Haiti, with so many people still living in fragile accommodations in camps, the consequences of a significant hurricane this season could be dire," said Jean-Claude Mukadi, World Vision’s national director in Haiti. "Even if a hurricane doesn't hit Haiti head on, a lot of rain can easily cause flooding and make matters worse for thousands of people."
Each year, World Vision maps high-risk areas around the globe where hurricanes are most likely to hit and works to identify evacuation routes to safe shelters. Following a hurricane, World Vision helps local and national authorities conduct damage assessments and responds according to the scope and severity of the damage. In recent years, this has included the provision of food, blankets and personal hygiene kits.
Throughout Latin America and the U.S., World Vision stocks supplies at strategic locations so that they can be distributed immediately after a disaster strikes. These supplies include food, water, and tarps and tents for shelter. The organization also creates Rapid Response Teams
to have personnel available to respond as soon as possible.
In Haiti, World Vision has been helping camp communities prepare for hurricanes by emphasizing the importance of clearing drainage, reinforcing tents and shelters, keeping essential documents safe, ensuring access to communications equipment like phones or radios, and identifying safe havens in case of evacuation.
World Vision responds to about 85 disasters around the world each year, and in the U.S., it actively coordinates with regional authorities and other members of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) both to prepare for and respond to disasters.
Corporations interested in donating quality, new products for disaster response in the U.S. should call 1-800-642-1616. The public can help World Vision prepare for hurricanes and other disasters by calling 1.888.56.CHILD or visiting www.worldvision.org
. About World VisionWorld Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor -- regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews