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June 1 marks the start of Atlantic Hurricane Season – and as we know, it only takes one storm to cause significant damage to communities in the United States and around the world.




When disaster hits, many generous people start looking for ways they can help.

If you are one of them, you should use the start of Hurricane season to pre-plan your generosity too! It can make a big difference for people trying to get back on their feet after disaster.

How can you make the greatest impact in the lives of others this hurricane season? The answer is surprisingly simple: give cash to relief organizations that work directly with people affected by disasters.

Disasters evolve quickly as people move to safety and start receiving emergency services and humanitarian aid. Cash donations allow relief organizations to respond to changing needs quickly, which enables them to deliver essential supplies that are fresh and familiar to the people they are helping. Donating clothes and household items might seem like the right thing to do, but these items rarely reach the people they’re intended to help. In fact,omega replica unsolicited donations can hinder relief efforts by diverting relief workers’ attention, clogging up already-limited work space and requiring equipment and time to manage. In stark contrast, even small financial donations can make a huge difference because of charitable organizations’ bulk purchasing power. For example, relief organizations can provide safe drinking water to more than 32,000 people for one day for the same cost of shipping one 6-pack of bottled water to a disaster site.

Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 - Nov. 30

Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 – Nov. 30. Photo by NCDOT/Flickr


As we mark the start of Atlantic Hurricane Season, keep in mind these three ways you can help people in need:

  1. Decide ahead of time where your money will go. Choose a charity doing work you feel strongly about in hurricane-affected areas. You can make sure your donation is used effectively by consulting charity watchdogs such as Charity Navigator or Give Well.
  2. If you’ve already collected material goods, repurpose them! Your garage may be full, but fret not. Here are 55 ways to repurpose a material donation, or you can donate locally to people in need.
  3. Help spread the word about hurricane season, and cash donations. Many people aren’t aware of the positive impacts associated with giving cash to relief organizations after a disaster – or about the hazards of sending unsolicited material donations. Help us spread the word by directing people to www.cidi.org, following us on – Twitter and liking us on Facebook. You can also share the wonderful “Cash is Best” ads from our 2017 PSAid student contest! Visit psaid.org to switz-watch see the winning entries.

If you’re still unsure about giving cash, check out our Greatest Good Donation Calculator to determine the cost of material donations like canned food, bottled water and clothes versus the good that the same amount of money can do in the hands of an experienced relief organization.




Save lives, save money – donate cash!

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Every year since 2006, USAID CIDI has hosted the Public Service Announcements for International Disasters (PSAID). The annual PSAID contest gives students and young professionals a chance to showcase their design and video skills on a national level, while educating people on why cash donations work best for disaster relief. This year’s competition was especially strong, with a 2nd consecutive year of at least 100 PSAID entries from across the US!

We’re proud to announce this year’s winners with the PSAID 2014 Press Release. Can’t wait to see what PSAID has in store for 2015!

PSAID 2014 Poster

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On April 18, 1906, San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area experienced a catastrophic natural disaster. The 1906 earthquake, estimated at a 7.8 magnitude, killed approximately 3,000 people and left up to 300,000 without homes. Buildings that survived being toppled by the earthquake were destroyed by fires fueled by the city’s gas mains. In fact, 80% of buildings were destroyed by fire. In addition to the physical and financial impact, the earthquake changed the demographics of California. Tent cities popped up all over San Francisco, resembling modern day refugee camps. Some people stayed in the settlements, but many left for Southern California. Though San Francisco was rebuilt by 1915, Los Angeles eventually overtook San Francisco as the commercial center of the west, as the disaster diverted trade away.

In observance of the 108th anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake , we’ve compiled this photo blog showing the aftermath and the lives affected, courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library. As you’ll find, despite more than a 100 year difference, today’s natural disasters mirror those of the past in many ways. As they do today, people lost everything from their homes to their livelihoods, but showed tremendous resilience despite the losses.

SF 1

View of rubble from California Street.

SF 2

People watching a fire burning on Market Street.

SF 3

The ruins of the First National Bank Building at Bush and Sansome Street.

SF 4

Temporary housing camp at Mission Park (now known as Mission Dolores Park)

SF 6

Children with their mother in front of tents.

SF 5

Refugee camp set up at Clifton Mound (now known as Mint Hill).

SF 8

Family posing in front of their tent.

 

 

There’s a day for everything! So what makes World Water Day different from World Nutella Day (February 9th)? Besides calories per serving, that is.

Since 1993, World Water Day has encouraged us to be more mindful, aware, and active in protecting this most precious resource. Initially a day that reminded us to conserve water in the shower, it has grown into an awareness of the complex nature of the world’s water issues and the urgency with which those issues need to be addressed. For example, over 2.5 times more people in the world lack water than live in the United States. Also, an American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country uses for an entire day.

Sustainable water resources are especially crucial in the context of a natural disaster. In the early aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, potable water was among the most urgent needs for survivors. Humanitarian agencies quickly delivered bulk water supplies in the form of tankards, jerry cans, and purification systems. At the same time, they took steps to assess and repair the water infrastructure to meet future demands. Through bulk water supplies and long-term water solutions, survivors of Typhoon Haiyan were provided with a life giving resource.

Ever think of donating water after a disaster? Consider this: sending bottled water to disaster sites can actually be unhelpful. Establishing potable water supplies is always a first priority for disaster responders, who are equipped to supply it expeditiously and in bulk. Donated bottled water  poses a significant trash disposal problem whether it’s used or not. For donors, shipping a six pack of water from the US to Manila costs at least $100, not including follow-on transport from Manila to areas hit by the Typhoon. For all that expense, a six pack will barely hydrate 1 person for one day. That same $100 would be much more effectively invested on World Water Day by donating it to a reputable organization with water and sanitation infrastructure and expertise. Want further proof? You can do the math on the CIDI Donations Calculator.

And remember to read all about the UN’s five year plan to make sure everyone has access to clean water and how you can be part of that effort: http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/about-world-water-day/world-water-day-2014-water-and-energy/en/.


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Valentine’s Day is here! What’s your plan? Giving flowers or sweets to that special someone? Surprising friends?

vday_Blog

It’s not only about the gifts, though. Valentine’s Day is more than a commercial holiday. It is a day set aside to think beyond one’s self and give something that has a positive impact on those around you. This could extend way beyond the traditional chocolate and roses.  Your Valentine’s Day gift can be giving a supportive ear or shoulder to a friend who really needs it.  It can involve being a little nicer to strangers by holding a door open or offering a seat on the bus. Just as you do when you donate for disaster relief or to a charity, you pay attention to those around you, listen to their needs, and respond to those needs with compassion.

If you’re scrambling for a last minute item for a special someone or want to do some good on Valentine’s Day, you have many more options than the traditional heart shaped box of chocolates. You can give anything that leaves a positive impression and creates a ripple effect of kindness and compassion.

Spread the love!

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We bet you’re all dressed up, gifts are wrapped, and cookies are baked.

Uhh Ohh…

 

Christmas 2013 blogDid you forget something? Perhaps a gift for a relative? For a White Elephant Party? For a colleague?

USAID CIDI staff is here to help you overcome that sinking feeling with easy, thoughtful, last minute gifts!

Delfin 

Who doesn’t love the Bahamas? Delfin, our Chief of Media Relations and Strategy, has been dreaming of scuba diving in pristine Caribbean waters all year long. Make sure the Caribbean and its wildlife are here for you to visit time and again by adopting the coral reef. For $50 through The Nature Conservancy, you can protect the ecosystem and the sea turtles that inhabit it. Who doesn’t love turtles?

https://support.nature.org/site/Ecommerce/1438131896?VIEW_PRODUCT=true&product_id=1361&store_id=2741

Eric

Long-term recovery and return to normalcy are crucial for survivors. One of the best ways to support this is through a microfinance loan. Eric, our Senior Research Analyst, calls this the Gift of Self Reliance. For $10, you can support Filipino entrepreneurs start a business. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/raise-capital-for-entrepreneurs-in-philippines/

Juanita

Juanita, our Director, is a former English major and bibliophile. Currently, she is engulfed in “Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid”. For Juanita, it harkens back to her time in disaster relief work. For your last minute gift recipient, it tells gritty, gripping tales about the highs, lows and in-betweens of humanitarian work that will inform the soul of the adventure-lover and the dreamer alike. $12.45.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0770436919?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=0770436919&linkCode=xm2&tag=thewaspos09-20

Paris

Paris, our Information Management Specialist, wants to support causes that are close to her loved ones’ hearts. Her gift of choice is a GlobalGiving Gift card. It allows the recipient to chose a $10 program or cause that they truly support, all in the name of the holiday spirit.

http://www.globalgiving.org/gifts/

Chris

Chris, our Social Media Specialist, wants a gift that reaches everyone. Even before disasters, those with physical or mental disabilities may already be at a disadvantage. After a disaster, infrastructure and resources are severely limited. Chris, our Social Media Specialist, wants a gift that reaches everyone. That is why his go-to gift is $15 to purchase spare parts for all terrain wheelchairs in Haiti.

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/haiti-wheelchair-project/

Barlin

Barlin, our Program Coordinator, loves camels-from pictures in her office to camel milk in her tea. She often talks about how vital camels are for nutrition, transportation, and status in Somalia.

Barlin’s perfect gift, last minute or otherwise, is a share of a camel, $85, through Heifer International. Heifer International provides livestock to families in need.

http://www.heifer.org/gift-catalog/animals-nutrition/gift-of-a-camel-donation.html

So readjust your tie, munch on a cookie, and go to that holiday party confidently! You’ve crossed off everyone on your gift list while practicing Smart Compassion.

 Happy Holidays from our team to yours! 

 

Love Urban Dictionary? Enhance your disaster response street cred with these need-to-know buzzwords:

1. Disaster Relief: Disaster survivors frequently need assistance to recover and rebuild. Supplies and programs provided by NGOS on the ground are essential to meet short-term needs like emergency medical care, and longer term ones like shelter.

 Donate cash for disaster relief and give survivors with what they need!”

 2. Smart Compassion: Giving that’s focused on survivor needs as assessed by relief workers on-site. Put another way, giving what survivors actually need – not just what the donor wants to give (unless the donor wants to give cash). Cash donations are easiest for donors and most effective for more survivors than are material donations.

“Who are you texting, Erica?”

 “The disaster relief fund – $10 towards #smartcompassion”  

 3. Cash Donation: This is the most effective way for people to help after a natural disaster. Monetary contributions to reputable, effective NGOs fund vital supplies and services needed immediately following a natural disaster, and for a long time thereafter.

 “A cash donation is fast and flexible.”

 4.Unsolicited Material Donation: Any non-cash donation that is sent without approval or an appeal from a relief organization working with survivors. Bottled water is a popular unsolicited donation.  $1 of water purchased in the US would not supply even one person with enough drinking water for one day (including capital cost, transportation, taxes, etc.).  In contrast, $1 spent in-country could provide drinking water to approximately 80 people for one day. Cash donations are more effective because they can buy exactly what is needed, when it’s needed. And many purchases are made locally, which strengthens the local economy and speeds recovery.  Unsolicited material donations can delay response efforts by taking up space needed to stage and deliver life-saving supplies.

“It will take months to sort through these unsolicited donations!”

 Keep us on our toes-challenge us with your favorite terms! 

 

We love Twitter and we love clever handles so it naturally follows that we love Tom Murphy or @viewfromthecave.

How do we love thee? Let us count the ways in snippets from your latest piece for Humanosphere: “Want to help the Philippines? Give unrestricted cash”.

1. “Another major disaster strikes and do-gooders rush to help however they can. It is one of the most endearing qualities about humanity, but sometimes your instincts fail you. The compulsion to help can be good, but it is only effective if done right.” Straight out of the gate, Mr. Murphy highlights the importance of what we call “Smart Compassion”-giving effectively.

2. “With disasters, the best way to help people is to donate cash.” Yes and amen! Cash is Best!

3.  “Relief agencies need money to pay for the staff, services and provisions that will help people in need.” That’s the best part of monetary donations to a trusted relief organization: it keeps the life-saving running smoothly, quickly, and efficiently. Aid is not just food and shelter, it is also the infrastructure, supply-lines, and trained experts needed to deliver and give aid quickly.

4. “Aid workers compete by telling stories about their craziest experiences.” Uh, no comment(!)

5. “Airplanes filled with non-essential unwanted goods suck up fuel, money and space on the airstrip.” This was unfortunately the case in Haiti, Katrina, and every major disaster we have seen here at USAID CIDI since 1988. The costs are not just monetary but to lives saved, first aid given, and food aid dispensed.

6. “The thought is to jump on a plane and lend a hand. You will create more work for the relief agencies who need to manage you and the fact that you take up valuable plane space that could be filled with skilled aid workers or lifesaving supplies.” The reality of volunteering without being skilled or affiliated with a relief organization is that you not only waste your own money taking leave, paying for gear, and buying a ticket, you also take away food, shelter, money, and the attention of professionals from survivors.

7. “You can make a difference in the Philippines, but it is through your checkbook, not your closet. There are organizations that have a long history of working in post-disaster areas. They are your best bet to make sure that your money will reach Filipino people.” You as a donor have power and the ability to save people but it has to be done with Smart Compassion! We encourage you to check out our Smart Compassion Toolkit before scoping the reliable, time-tested organizations within the InterAction and GlobalGiving networks. Don’t see anything you like? It’s ok! Donate to an organization you are philosophically aligned with.

We love Fridays ☺ and are particularly fond of Fridays at 5 p.m. So imagine our delight when we heard about Friday5, a crowd-funding nonprofit that converts those happy Friday vibes into donations for seriously good causes. Through Friday5’s subscription model, users automatically donate $5 every Friday to a charity that’s carefully vetted and selected by Friday5. At the end of each year, every user will have donated to 52 different charities, a painless way to make a difference in thousands of lives while amping your charitable street cred, for a cost somewhere between a mocha latte and a mojito. Such a deal!

Rebuilding communities post-disaster takes years, so it is uber-helpful to give to reputable charitable organizations year-round, including and after an initial call-to-action. You can commit to a favorite charity and give weekly on your own, but if slacker philanthropy is your style, Friday5 is for you. Check out your new giving partners at www.friday5.org

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I Was Here

Image credit to the UN.

 

As we approach World Humanitarian day, one thing comes to mind. Every year on August 19, we honor people who work in humanitarian projects around the world. These true humanitarians make many personal sacrifices in order to provide assistance to others. And  their work is often risky – even life threatening.  August 19 is World Humanitarian Day, established in honor of Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 20 members of his staff who died tragically in a car bombing on August 19, 2003.

Humanitarian professionals work in a variety of sectors. Some focus on water and sanitation initiatives. Others are trained for search and rescue, shelter, livelihood restoration, nutrition and rapid response following natural disasters. They work across multiple sectors around the globe, but one doesn’t need a plane ticket to be a humanitarian.

To be a humanitarian requires two basic things. First is a concern for the welfare of all people. The second is a classic humanitarian concept dating back to the Hippocratic Oath – do no harm. A way to insure against doing harm is to ensure your help is wanted and required, to avoid the possibility of causing harm despite your best intentions.  You may know from the experience of giving or receiving a gift that bombed- good intentions do not always guarantee good outcomes.

There are so many ways to connect with and help others! Want to give to a worthy cause? Donate cash to a responsible organization working in a sector you believe in. If you have only have material goods to give, that’s okay. You can donate them locally, or sell them and donate the proceeds. Take an idea from our “55 Ways to Repurpose a Material Donation”. Once you’ve decided to help others without causing harm, you’re bound to be a humanitarian in your hood.

For more ideas on how to be humanitarian in your hood, stay tuned for tips in future blogs.

Summer is a time in our country when natural disasters often strike.  One special disaster that’s hit our country this summer is the Sharknado, a powerful storm that has pierced the American consciousness in a direct-to-TV SyFy movie released in mid-July.  The film’s premise revolves around a freak tropical storm so powerful that it literally sucks sharks out of the ocean and sends them through the air in a “sharknado” that pours across the Los Angeles basin. The film’s campy premise and unmistakable name have caught internet fire and attracted the attention of millions. Despite the unlikely scenario, it begs the question of what the aftermath and recovery from a sharknado would entail.

First responders would immediately be confronted with a confusing and rapidly evolving situation. Buildings would be damaged by strong winds and heavy rains as well as from the sharks themselves, which would be scattered throughout the disaster zone.  News media would broadcast stunning and dramatic images around the world of the devastation, the emergency rescue efforts, and on the suffering of the sharknado survivors. In a surge of compassion and generosity, people all over the country and throughout the world would respond with donations and some would even show up on the shark-affected scene to offer their help. As noble and well-intentioned as those actions would be, it may end up doing little good and might even make a bad situation worse.

During a time like this, unsolicited donations could clog up vital supply chains and bring the wrong items to the wrong people. Blankets and sneakers are of little use when live sharks are still attacking.  Volunteers who show up on the scene could themselves become casualties and would need to be assessed and trained before being deployed. By contrast, cash donations would not cause such logistical complications as it is typically the most effective way to support rescue, relief and recovery efforts for a sharknado or any non-shark related disaster.

That isn’t to say that there wouldn’t be requests for specific, solicited donations. Undoubtedly, some relief organizations would need blood donations and medical supplies, and would ask for them from the general public. If you want to help relief efforts after a natural disaster but don’t know how best to do so, keep in mind that cash is always helpful and almost always the best way to help.

Natural disasters, with or without fins and teeth, have a lot in common. They can strike when you least expect them to, and they almost always create a confusing and dynamic situation for relief organizations.  A Sharknado may seem a bit far-fetched, but the lesson that cash is best is anything but.

By A. Sezin Tokar, Ph.D., Senior Hydrometeorological Hazard Advisor, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance

Flash floods are the number one weather-related killer and the most fatal side effect of hurricanes. They kill thousands of people every year and cause millions of dollars in damage by destroying buildings and bridges, uprooting trees and overflowing rivers within mere minutes.

Trinidad Bolivia Flood USAID response

USAID responds to more floods than any other type of natural disaster, like this one in Trinidad, Bolivia in 2003. Photo Credit: USAID

Flash floods occur when excess water caused by heavy and rapid rainfall from tropical storms or hurricanes cannot be quickly absorbed into the earth. This fast-moving water can be extremely powerful, reaching heights of more than 30 feet. But it takes only six inches of water to knock a person to the ground or 18 inches to float a moving car.

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance recognizes that while flash floods are deadly in even the most developed countries, they can really wreak havoc in densely populated regions around the world that lack strong infrastructure. Hurricane-prone regions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are especially vulnerable, which is why USAID works with host countries year-round to help them prepare.

Even though the onset of flash floods is almost immediate, it is possible to give up to a six hour window of advanced notice—just enough time to save lives.

The advanced warning is given through the Flash Flood Guidance System, a scientific method of accumulating rainfall data and analyzing the rate at which the ground absorbs it. USAID works closely with meteorological experts in hurricane-prone countries, training them on how this system works so that they can be on the lookout for potential flash floods. Using the system gives disaster-prone countries the opportunity to use those crucial six hours before a flash flood hits to implement emergency plans and move as many people out of harm’s way.

Six hours may seem like a lot of lead time, but it’s actually not when you’re rushing to alert remote and heavily populated villages—with limited communication—about an approaching disaster. Flash floods can’t be prevented, but USAID is committed to helping people better prepare for and recover from them. Because when it comes to saving lives and alleviating suffering, every minute counts.

There is a place in Miami, Florida, where deadly, hurricane force winds can be felt year-round without the threat of destruction.  In fact, it’s a place that’s being used to help save lives.

It’s called the Wall of Wind, a cutting-edge lab at Florida International University (FIU) that can simulate hurricane conditions using 12 giant fans, stacked two high, capable of generating winds with speeds exceeding 150 miles per hour, packing the punch of a Category Five storm.

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance is working with FIU to harness these hurricane force winds to test the strength and design of transitional shelters.  Transitional shelters are not tents, but they’re not quite houses, either.  They are a mix of the two, constructed using new and salvaged building materials to safely house people who’ve been hit hard by disasters until they secure a permanent home.

Hurricanes can be catastrophic, uprooting communities, taking out entire coastlines, and killing thousands of people in the process.  Flying debris—often from pieces of roofs and homes—contributes to being one of the most deadly and destructive side effects of these storms.

This is why it’s crucial that transitional shelters are strong enough to withstand nature’s worst, and that is where the Wall of Wind comes into play.  Take a look at the video, and see for yourself if a transitional shelter constructed with USAID-identified best practices could really stand up to a hurricane.

USAID built temporary shelters in Chile

USAID built temporary shelters in Chile, using a combination of durable plastic sheeting and wood boards, to meet humanitarian needs in 2010. Photo Credit: USAID

The transitional shelter was blasted by wind speeds of more than 100 miles per hour—well in excess of a Category One hurricane—and remained standing.  USAID’s work with the Wall of Wind not only helps improve the quality of emergency shelters, it can also have real impact on the way future homes and businesses are built in hurricane-prone areas.

Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 26 through June 1, following the official forecast for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. This week, USAID is highlighting the work we do to help disaster-prone countries prepare for and recover from hurricanes.

Children play in the streets of a camp for internally displaced people in Port-au-Prince, Haiti after Hurricane Tomas made landfall in November 2010.

As America saw with Hurricane Sandy, it takes just one bad storm to wreak havoc, kill and injure hundreds and inflict billions of dollars of damages. If one hurricane can do so much damage in the U.S., imagine the impact of similar storms on less developed countries.

Forecasters are predicting an active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season.  During this week, we will be highlighting USAID’s work—through its Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance—to prepare disaster-prone countries and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean for hurricanes.

Top forecasters are anticipating a busy 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, with the National Hurricane Center on May 23 predicting that 13 to 20 named storms will develop this year, with 7 to 11 of the systems expected to become hurricanes.

Plastic sheeting provided by USAID gives much needed shelter to a family in Nicaragua following a destructive hurricane in 2007.

Plastic sheeting provided by USAID gives much needed shelter to a family in Nicaragua following a destructive hurricane in 2007. Photo Credit: Alejandro Torres/USAID

No matter how accurate the forecast turns out to be, Hurricane Sandy taught us that it only takes one major storm to kill more than 70 people in this country, injure hundreds of others, and inflict billions of dollars in damages.  If one hurricane could do so much damage the U.S., imagine the impact of similar storms on less developed countries.

USAID is prepared to meet the demands of an active hurricane season.  All year, experts with USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) have been working closely with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to make sure emergency and evacuation plans are in place.  USAID has emergency stockpiles in Miami, including medical supplies, hygiene kits, shelter materials, and water purification equipment. We have the ability to charter planes in eight different countries to deliver these life-saving items quickly to countries hit hard by hurricanes.  When we know a storm is coming, we can pre-position staff and relief supplies to provide immediate assistance.

But arguably, the most vital resource USAID has is its people.  In addition to the 25 disaster experts USAID/OFDA has in the region, there are also about 350 consultants in 28 countries who can immediately jump into the action when a hurricane makes landfall. These consultants live in the region, so they know the country, culture and local officials and can quickly report the conditions on the ground and help USAID prioritize humanitarian needs.

USAID airlifted emergency relief supplies to the Bahamas when Hurricane Irene made landfall in 2011.

USAID airlifted emergency relief supplies to the Bahamas when Hurricane Irene made landfall in 2011. Photo Credit: USAID

“They are our eyes and ears, and they allow USAID to be fast, aggressive and robust in a disaster response,” said Tim Callaghan, USAID/OFDA’s Principal Regional Advisor in Latin America and the Caribbean.  “They work to save lives and alleviate suffering.”

All this week, we will be highlighting what USAID and its partners are doing in preparation for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, from protecting people from deadly flash floods to teaching children in Jamaica to become the next generation of disaster experts.

Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 26 through June 1, following the official forecast for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. This week, USAID is highlighting the work we do to help disaster-prone countries prepare for and recover from hurricanes.

Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 26-June 1, following the release of the official forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. This week will highlight USAID’s work helping disaster-prone countries in Latin America and the Caribbean prepare for and recover from hurricanes.

Hurricane Stan Central America and Mexico

Hurricane Stan destroyed this building and many others in Central America and Mexico during the 2005 hurricane season. Photo credit: USAID

The National Hurricane Center announced on May 23 that 2013 will be a very active year, with between seven to 11 storm systems expected to develop into hurricanes.

USAID—through its Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance—is prepared to meet the demands of a busy hurricane season. It has been working year-round with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to ensure emergency and evacuation plans are in place.

All this week, USAID’s Impact blog will showcase how USAID and its partners have been helping to prepare hurricane-prone countries and communities for disasters, including:

  • Training on the Flash Flood Guidance System
    USAID works closely with meteorological experts in hurricane-prone countries, training them how to use this scientific system to help communities escape the most fatal side effect of hurricanes.