Guatemala + 7 more

World Vision preparing for busy hurricane season

Format
News and Press Release
Source
Posted
Originally published
- Agency pre-positioning supplies to 'jump-start' response when storms hit

- Global warehouses store additional aid for large disasters

Seattle, WA, April 25, 2008- After a record two Category 5 hurricanes last year, World Vision is pre-positioning supplies and preparing communities across the Caribbean and Latin America for this summer's storms and other natural disasters. Disaster preparation is a critical part of the child-focused aid agency's emergency response program, which last year responded to some 85 disasters worldwide.

'We are using all the tools and new ideas we can to be prepared to be on the frontlines,' said Jose Nelson Chavez, a World Vision emergency response coordinator based in El Salvador. 'We are implementing the most important lessons learned from emergency responses in other parts of the world.'

To minimize damage from hurricanes, World Vision is:

- Training communities in disaster preparation and response, including villagers in Guatemala who learned disaster mitigation and relief techniques and received first-aid kits, stretchers and instructional posters about natural disasters.
- Pre-positioning emergency relief materials in six vulnerable Latin American countries.
- Maintaining emergency supplies and equipment for up to 225,000 beneficiaries in global warehouses, including Denver - the key distribution point for Latin America.
- Recovering from last season by offering long-term support to previous victims, such as psychological support to more than 1,000 children affected by Hurricane Noel in the Dominican Republic.
- Training staff through disaster simulations and other tools to further develop the agency's relief capacity.

Pre-positioning supplies

World Vision's global pre-positioning resource network (GPRN) is working with organizations in the Latin American and Caribbean region to pre-position emergency relief supplies in six countries as part of a pilot project within the region's emergency preparedness plan.

Four 40-foot containers, each with enough relief supplies to assist 300 families, were shipped from World Vision warehouses in Denver and Dubai to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. Three more containers are due to arrive soon in Mexico and El Salvador.

The six pilot countries were selected based on their likelihood of being significantly affected during the hurricane season.

The pre-positioned supplies include blankets, cooking sets, treated mosquito nets, shovels, tarps and water purification tablets. The supplies will be immediately accessible when an emergency occurs anywhere in the region. World Vision also has a team of disaster experts in the region who can respond within 24-72 hours of an emergency.

'Pre-positioning is a key component in World Vision's preparedness strategy,' said Nicole Peter, World Vision's emergency program officer in Latin America. 'Having standard relief items in-country increases our ability to respond within the first hours of a disaster, so that we can meet the needs of those most critically affected until a relief pipeline is set up.'

If the pilot project within these six countries is successful, the pre-positioning project may be expanded to all 14 countries where World Vision works in the region.

'These supplies will allow World Vision to jump-start its relief operations in disaster areas and enable us to better assist even during a smaller emergency,' said John Jung, a World Vision supply chain manager.

World Vision's GPRN is a network of staff and warehouses that stock emergency relief supplies and provide support before and during emergency responses. During the 2004 tsunami, for example, the GRPN deployed more than 1,400 metric tons of relief supplies to the tsunami-affected region.

For more information:
To speak to regional relief experts and aid workers preparing for the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season in the U.S., Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico or Nicaragua, please contact Casey Calamusa at 206.310.5476 or ccalamus@worldvision.org.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Visit www.worldvision.org/press