Red Cross prepares for one of the most active hurricane seasons

Red Cross prepares for one of the most active hurricane seasons
31 May 2010

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (International Federation) is ready to help communities in the Americas withstand the 2010 hurricane season through a careful integration of disaster response and disaster risk reduction, which translates into a more effective and efficient coordination of processes involved in relief operations.

“The forecast for this year’s hurricane season is much more severe than the one we had for last year. However, our disaster preparedness and response skills in the Americas have also improved through the intensive work done in recent operations, such as Haiti and Chile,” says Paco Maldonado, coordinator of the International Federation’s Pan-American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU).

The International Federation’s regional logistics unit in the Americas, based in Panama, has enough supplies to meet the emergency needs of around 100,000 people across the continent. It also has prepositioned stock for assisting an additional 8,000 families with non-food items in Haiti and 3,000 families with tents during the season. The storage inventory includes plastic sheets, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, cooking kits, blankets and jerrycans for water storage, as well as vehicles ready to be deployed in the region. Additionally, the International Federation has prepositioned stock in El Salvador to meet the basic needs of another 2,000 families and the water and sanitation needs of 5,000.

“We have also deployed more than 50 members of our regional intervention team (RIT) since January, which means our roster and capacity in terms of manpower and field experience have also improved. Our technical areas of focus for this season will be support activities in the areas of water and sanitation, shelter and emergency health,” adds Maldonado.

During 2009, one of the most quiet hurricane seasons since 1997, the International Federation helped Red Cross Societies in four countries to support more than 33,000 people. About 250 tons of humanitarian aid were delivered through the logistics base in Panama, disaster response experts were mobilized and 4,899,855 Swiss francs (4,243,810 US dollars or 3,450,330 euros) were released from the International Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund. Additionally, international appeals for 1,701,194 Swiss francs (1,473,420 US dollars or 1,197,930 euros) were launched.

For further information, or to set up interviews, please contact:

In Panama:
Pilar Forcén, communications manager, International Federation, Tel: +507 6672 3170
Rodolfo Bergantino, communications officer, International Federation, Tel: +507 6670 7365

Source: IFRC website