Tag Archives: Hurricane Sandy

Why Save the Children Is Uniquely Suited to Help Kids After Hurricane Harvey

I have worked with Save the Children in some capacity for the past five years whether seeing their work around the world, blogging on pro-Bono campaigns or partnering as a consultant. That’s why I can personally vouch for the amazing work they do for the most vulnerable children who have experienced psychological trauma from all-too-routine natural and man-made disasters. Many people think Save the Children solely provides aid during global catastrophes that happen in far away places, but they also provide substantial aid here in the United States. Save the Children was instrumental during hurricanes Katrina and Sandy as well as the tornadoes that continually tear through the mid-west. They also were there for both the Lousiana and eastern North Carolina floods last year. I am confident in their ability to focus on not only the physical but the mental well-being of the smallest among us.

Take a moment to fill out an ICE (in case of emergency) card where you can include contact information for all family members even those who are in other states! This is important when lines are down. You never know when a natural disaster will hit, so make sure to do it now!

In a climate where some national organizations are coming under increased scrutiny about their ability to adequately help families with simple supplies, supply lines, and logistics during stateside national disasters, Save the Children continues to be a rock for children and their families. I wasn’t asked to write this post, but feel strongly it’s necessary to urge as many people to donate to Save the Children during Harvey relief efforts. Thus far Save the Children has brought truckloads of infant and toddler supplies to four shelters in Austin while strengthening its work to support children in area shelters.

Save the Children Harvey emergency response
Save the Children staff member Coleen Vivori plays with Brianna*, 4, and Khloe*, 5, at Save the Children’s Child-Friendly Space located at Kazen Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, where hundreds of displaced families, including many with infants and toddlers, are seeking refuge in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Save the Children’s emergency response team is on the ground in Texas, working to meet children and families’ immediate needs as Hurricane Harvey blasts inland from the Texas coastline. (PRNewsfoto/Save the Children)

Officials anticipate that more than 30,000 Texas residents will need shelter including in three mega shelters located in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Save the Children has teams on the ground, and at the request of the City of Austin, is en route to the city’s four major shelters with essential items including portable cribs and sheets, strollers, baby wash basins, hygiene kits and lotion packs.

Save the Children is also opening child-friendly spaces in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

“Child-Friendly Spaces are a hallmark of Save the Children’s emergency response, and are essential in helping children cope and build resiliency during disasters,” said Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais, the organization’s senior director of U.S. emergencies. “We are working hard to make sure that children and families in Texas are getting the supplies and care they need.”

“We are evaluating the immediate needs of families who are being rescued in Houston, and those who are still stranded,” added De Marrais. “We know the longer-term needs will be in Houston and we’re determined to get child care and early education programs up and running as quickly as possible.”

To support Save the Children’s response efforts around Hurricane Harvey, please go to www.SavetheChildren.org or text Hurricane to 20222 to donate $25 to the Hurricane Harvey Children’s Relief Fund. (A $25 donation will be added to your mobile bill. Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. Terms:  www.hmgf.org/t. Privacy Policy: www.savethechildren.org/privacy.)

How Prepared is Your State for a Natural Disaster?

Newtown: Child Friendly SpaceWhen superstorm Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey shore last year thousands of families were uprooted from their homes and apartments and many had to stay in community shelters. What some states didn’t realize is that mega shelters oftentimes leave children and their families in extremely dangerous situations as criminals, gang members, and even sexual predators all use the same shelter during an emergency. Children, in particular, are at risk.

Didi, 4, was one of those children. Her family was forced to stay in a shelter miles away from their home as their apartment was flooded and unlivable. Didi, who was usually a happy child, immediately became sullen and withdrawn. It wasn’t until Save the Children brought blankets, more nutritious foods, and made a separate play area for children did Didi eventually perk up.

“For a sensitive child like Didi, and many other children forced from their homes under great duress, shelters can be a very unsettling and potentially unsafe place, ” said Amy Richmond, a Save the Children child protection officer.

When natural and other disasters occur it is important to be as prepared as possible. Experts readily preach the importance of family evacuation and savings plans as well as emergency kits. But, how prepared is your state to effectively handle a natural disaster? You might be surprised.

Oklahoma: Daycare recovery

Save the Children recently launched its Get Ready. Get Safe campaign and 2013 National Report Card on Children in Disasters that shines a much-needed spotlight on state preparedness for natural disasters. 2012 was the second costliest year for disaster destruction according to Save the Children. Their report shows that 28 states plus DC still fail to meet minimum standards for disaster preparedness, including keeping children safe in day cares and schools.

How Does Your State Fare?

Save the Children has analyzed each state’s disaster preparedness. If you live in a state like California, New Mexico, Alabama, Louisiana, and Washington State you can feel better when your children are in school are in day care or school and a natural disaster strikes. But, if you live in states like Iowa, Idaho, and Kansas you should be concerned. Other states are good in some areas of disaster preparedness and rank unsatisfactory in other areas. 17 states, for example, do not require day cares to have evacuation plans and 16 states do not require day cares to have family reunification plan. And, more poignantly, 24 states do not require child care providers to have evacuation plans for children with disabilities. Find out how your state fares.

What Can You Do?

Visit www.savethechildren.org/Get-Ready to read the report, see how your state fares, and also find tips on how your family can be prepared during disasters.

There are several actions you can take to ensure your state is better prepared if a natural or other disaster strikes. You can send a letter to your governor to make sure disaster preparedness is a high priority on your state’s agenda.

Save the Children has also created sharable state report cards that you can share via social media to spread the word.

Cholera Outbreak in Haiti in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Heavy rains in Haiti’s northern city of Cap-Haïtien flooded streets, homes and fields overnight on 9 November, leaving hundreds homeless and up to fifteen people dead. A girl walks through the flooded streets of her neighbourhood. UN Photo/Logan Abassi

Hurricane Sandy left infrastructural damage and flooding in many areas of Haiti. Tent cities have been a mainstay in Haiti since the devastating earthquake nearly three years ago, sanitation is hit and miss, and dirty standing water and raw sewage pose perpetual problems throughout the tiny island nation.

According to the Associated Press, “the International Organization for Migration says Haitian officials have confirmed 3,593 cholera cases and another 837 suspected cases since Hurricane Sandy’s passage.”

NGOs and doctors are giving out cholera kits and are asking Haitians to spread the word about how to avoid getting cholera, but with a lack of clean drinking water more people are bound to be sickened by or die because of cholera. And despite these valiant efforts the waterborne disease continues to take the lives of the very young and old primarily.

Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Haiti

Hurricane Sandy left death and destruction along its path through the Caribbean and upwards through the northeast United States over the past week. The latest death toll in the United States is nearing 100 and property and environmental damages will cost billions of dollars to repair. But, in Haiti where hurricanes and tropical storms are rife and where development projects remain too few the flooding, disease, and homelessness are harder to bear.

Even though Sandy roared through the Caribbean last week flooding is still a major concern particularly as cholera cases rise. The flooding also damaged newly planted crops that may result in spikes in food prices.

“Several thousand kilometres of agricultural roads were destroyed and thousands of heads of cattle were swept away by the flood waters, which also destroyed thousands of hectares of plantations,” Agriculture Minister Jacques Thomas said as reported by South Africa’s Times Live.

Yesterday the Haitian government declared a month-long state of emergency to accelerate infrastructure and electrical repair and restore drinking water. Johan Peleman, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) operation in Haiti, told UN Radio that it is still too early to assess the full range of damages.

There are, however, concerns about food insecurity. “Already, the drought and the previous storm had hit the northern part of the country very badly and we had seen the levels of food insecurity rise there,” Peleman said. “With the south being hit now, we are going to face in the next couple of months very serious problems of malnutrition and food insecurity.”

Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH
A woman walks through a flooded market in Port au Prince. Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH
Residents stand on the banks of a river that swept away five homes in Port au Prince. Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH
A coastal town is flooded. Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH