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Following the torrential rains that Hurricane Dolly dumped on Texas in late July, AmeriCares sent three truckloads of bottled water to food banks where people displaced by the storm were staying in shelters. The hurricane made landfall on July 23 and was later downgraded to a tropical storm. Up to 20 inches of rain fell in parts of southern Texas and northern Mexico, and thousands of people were left without power.
AmeriCares relief effort was supported by Nestlé Waters, which donated the bottled water. This donation follows on the heels of a similar effort in June, when AmeriCares collaborated with Nestlé Waters and other partners to provide and distribute bottled water to victims of the Midwest flooding in Iowa and Indiana.
Dolly is this year’s second named hurricane, confirming earlier predications that the 2008 hurricane season will be an active one.For more than a decade, John Connell, AmeriCares director of emergency response, has participated in hurricane relief efforts. He stresses the importance of hurricane preparedness for those living within the hurricane belt.
“Hurricanes are one of the few natural disasters that we are able to prepare for in advance. The most important advice I can give is to listen to the local authorities and evacuate if you are ordered to do so,” says Connell. “In addition, people living in the hurricane region should always have an emergency plan and a disaster kit ready.”
Connell says disaster kits should include bottled water, non-perishable foods, a first aid kit, flashlights with extra batteries and bulbs, a battery-powered radio, and copies of important documents and papers, particularly insurance information, sealed in a water-proof bag. He also advises making a run to the bank and the gas station well in advance of a storm, since ATMs and gas pumps won’t work if there is no electricity.
“Many people forget to plan for their routine medical needs,” Connell adds. “People lose their prescription medications and need refills. During hurricane season, it is helpful to store a one-week supply of medication separately if possible, and also have your doctor’s contact information readily available in your disaster kit.”
Hurricane season runs through November. To support AmeriCares responses to U.S. disasters click here.