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Stamford, Conn. – June 1, 2012 – AmeriCares is launching two new disaster preparedness initiatives today, the official start of the 2012 hurricane season in the Atlantic, to help prepare families in hurricane-prone communities throughout the United States and Latin America. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting nine to 15 named storms over the next six months, including four to eight hurricanes.
In the United States, where a tropical storm struck Florida earlier this week, the disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization is preparing emergency kits with first aid supplies, household cleaning products and personal hygiene items for families temporarily displaced by storms or left to clean up water damage that could pose health hazards. More than 2,500 kits will be kept on hand at AmeriCares Connecticut headquarters, ready to be distributed to families in need after a major storm.
AmeriCares is also working with partner organizations in hurricane-prone communities in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Colombia to aid displaced families and to help stem the spread of disease. The project will preposition enough emergency relief supplies to provide 1,500 survivors with tarps for shelter, water purification products, cooking supplies and other urgently needed items within 72 hours of an emergency. AmeriCares also has critical emergency medicines and aid in Connecticut and El Salvador that can be delivered in advance of a storm or immediately after.
In Haiti, AmeriCares operates a 12,500-square-foot warehouse in Port-au-Prince stocked with essential medicines, hygiene supplies, water storage and treatment materials, and cholera treatment and prevention materials that can be distributed for hurricanes as well as localized flooding from other severe storms.
“The only way to respond effectively to a disaster is to prepare thoroughly beforehand,” said AmeriCares Director of Emergency Response Garrett Ingoglia. “We have to anticipate survivors’ needs and be ready to go before a storm hits.”
AmeriCares has provided medical relief and humanitarian assistance to millions affected by natural and man-made disasters for 30 years, including earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Pakistan and Japan, the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and Hurricane Katrina in the United States. In 2011, in response to one of the worst U.S. tornado seasons in decades, AmeriCares delivered nearly $3 million in aid for survivors, including $600,000 in disaster recovery grants to help more than 62,000 people recover and prepare for future emergencies.