Disaster Relief in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey & Irma

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Hurricane cloudsWe all know it’s good to help others and to do our part to protect our planet earth year-round. We are reminded of this especially during hurricane season. The recent events on the East Coast of the United States and Texas call for special disaster relief to go above and beyond the norm by doing good things every day to help those who have been impacted by the devastating storms. With flooding, power outages and water damage to homes, cars and businesses, it could be weeks, months or even years before people get back to work and things begin to get back to normal. The loss is not only felt in the way of personal possessions, but also in the way of lost paychecks, as many are unable to make money to support themselves in the interim. We must join together in this time of need to offer comfort and disaster relief to our fellow earth friends.

What Can I Do to Help With Disaster Relief?

Many of our readers have been asking how they can help. There are a number of organizations and ways you can give back and help people get back on their feet after the storm as they work to return to a more normal life.

Donate To The Red Cross

Text to donate to red crossWhile there are many organizations out there, we recommend one of the most well-known, reputable non-profit organizations: The Red Cross. You know exactly where your money is going and it will make an immediate impact by sending food and workers to provide shelter, meals and emotional support to those impacted by the storms’ aftermath. You can donate any amount to disaster relief at the Red Cross Online or give $10 easily via text message by sending the text “REDCROSS” to 90999.


Don’t Gorget To Donate for Pet Disaster Relief Too

While families are still struggling with the devastation caused by the hurricanes, there are many pets and other animals who were injured, displaced or worse, as a result of the storm. We recommend donating to the ASPCA as they have responders on the ground in the affected locations, transported hundreds of animals out of the storm’s path and established an ASPCA mega emergency shelter to care for displaced pets.

Are Storms Like This Due to Climate Change?

While it’s hard to pinpoint the cause of such unusual weather, many are led to believe that global warming and our human impact on climate has a great deal to do with it. There are many environmental movies, including Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and An Inconvenient Sequel which take a look at the myths and facts surrounding the planetary crisis and what implications our actions could have unless we take action to stop the bleeding. It never hurts to have a friendly reminder on the small things you can do every day to make a difference in keeping our earth alive and kicking for generations to come.

How You Can Be Prepared For a Disaster

One way that you can help decrease the strain on disaster relief personnel and resources during devastating events is to be prepared. Obviously, there is a limited period of advanced notice prior to any natural disaster hitting, but there are a number of ways that you can get ready for any disaster months in advance.

Whether you have seen it on television in characters such as King of the Hill’s Dale Gribble, or whether you have a conspiracy theorist friends, we all know of those who prepare for the end of the world. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist or expect the end of the world to prepare for a disaster however. Below you will find out how you can get your family ready for any disaster.

Pack Your Emergency Disaster Preparation Kit

An emergency disaster preparation kit should not only include first aid supplies but also any supplies that will help you to sustain your family in the event of a disaster. It is advised to have a disaster preparation kit in your vehicle as well as in your home.

The basic emergency disaster kit should include:

  • One gallon of water per person per day for three days minimum. This water will be required for drinking as well as other functions.
  • A three-day supply of non-perishable food per person. Many pre-packaged emergency kits include high-calorie meal replacement bars that are designed to last for long periods. It is important not to choose foods that are high in salt because they can result in over consumption of water. Rather, you should pick foods that are filling and high in liquid content. Ensure that all family members will eat food that you choose for your emergency supply and take into consideration any special dietary needs.
  • A hand crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert. Remember that you will also need batteries for these.
  • At least one flashlight and a battery supply.
  • Waterproof matches.
  • A first aid kit that includes iodine tablets, Band-Aids, elastic bandages, antiseptic cream, cortisone cream, tweezers, burn cream, a cold pack, scissors, gauze pads, antiseptic towelettes, Aspirin, Non-Aspirin pain reliever, petroleum jelly, anti-diarrhea medication, laxative, antacid, Saline to wash out eyes, glucose tablets, disposable gloves, a first aid instruction book and any other traditional first aid kit “ingredients.”
  • A whistle that can be used to signal for help.
  • Dust masks that can be used to filter air that has been contaminated.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and ties that can be used for sanitation.
  • Basic tools like pliers and a wrench that can be used to turn off utilities.
  • Local maps of the area to seek an evacuation route.
  • A solar power source.
  • A fully charged cell phone with a charger that can run on batteries or solar power.
  • A manual can opener.
  • A thermal blanket.
  • A small supply of mandatory medications such as insulin, cardiac medications, or blood pressure medications.
  • A sheet of emergency contact telephone numbers.
  • Baby formula and diapers.
  • Pet food and water.
  • Money in the form of cash, change and/or traveler’s checks.
  • Copies of all important documents as well as original passports, birth certificates when applicable and insurance policies.
  • A complete change of clothing packed in a bag for each family member.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • Writing utensils and paper.
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to be used to create a sealed shelter (optional).
  • If you have a pet, make sure that you have a carrier in which they can be confined in the event of evacuation to a shelter. A crate or other carrier will also make it easier to transport your panicked animal.

Video: Packing Your Emergency Kit

This segment from Fox news shows some of these items and how they can be used in case of an emergency.

Have an Evacuation Route Planned

Make sure that you are aware of the evacuation route for your city. People who live close to the beach will be familiar with signs for local evacuation routes. It is important to know where and how you can escape any natural disaster before it strikes. And if you do leave your car behind and it’s destroyed during the storm, consider donating it to Goodwill.

Pay Attention to Local Weather

Always pay attention to local weather reports and potentially dangerous storms that are approaching your area. In many situations, homeowners are afraid to leave their homes and possessions because of the loss they may encounter or because they believe that they can ride out a storm. Unfortunately, in many cases, these people are proven wrong and by the time they realize that they need to evacuate it is too late. Hopefully, by paying attention to local and approaching weather fronts you can avoid this type of situation but in some cases being caught in this situation is unavoidable. It is in these unavoidable situations that it is crucial that you have an emergency preparedness kit so that you and your family can hunker down to ride out the storm in a safe area.

Have a Generator and Gasoline Supply to Keep it Running

Having a generator is a significant step; however, for many people living in storm prone areas generators can be a great investment. Generators will allow you to keep important electrical utilities running for as long as you have a power source available for the generator. Generators are crucial for homes that have a medical need for power. Better yet, have a solar powered generator.

Above All, Don’t Panic

One of the worst, yet most often executed, things that someone can do during an emergency is to panic. Panicking leads to riots, people getting hurt and even death. Panicking is not going to help anyone so it is important to take a moment to assess your situation and try to remain calm. Encourage others to remain calm and remind them that panicking is not going to help the situation. Try to help others whenever you can and keep in mind that everyone else is just as worried as you are.

More Resources on Climate

Read more about climate change including other environmental disasters and climate refugees who are displaced after them. You can also learn more about if Americans care about climate and these useful Eco-Friendly living tips to do your part to help prevent these disasters from happening again.

When a natural disaster hits, what can you do to prepare and how will you help those in need?

About The Author:

Sadie is a vegetarian and an avid recycler who loves riding her bike and practicing yoga. She is passionate about the planet, conserving life’s precious resources and making the world a better place for generations to come. A big fan of up-cycling, Sadie loves yard sales and vintage stores to find new uses for old things. She loves to cook, clean and enjoy the many parks and outdoor spaces in DC where she currently resides with her husband.

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What is the role of students in any disasters
Thanks for sharing these tips! I am going to Puerto Rico for a wedding and want to help in anyway I can after they were hit with Irma and Maria.