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Responding to Natural Disasters

Credit: © Reuters/KYODO, courtesy Trust.org

In light of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I thought you might be interested in learning a bit about how Action Against Hunger responds to natural disasters in the countries where we work.

Every year, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, droughts and hurricanes occur around the world. These events can cause cities to collapse, farm land to be destroyed, and water sources to be polluted. In addition, they can cause severe injuries or death for the population. When a developing country suffers a natural disaster, the damage can often last longer due to a lack of the resources needed to clean up and rebuild.

When a disaster occurs in one of our program countries, Action Against Hunger immediately activates our disaster relief team. We distribute essential items like tents, soap and toothbrushes for individuals whose homes have been destroyed by the disaster. We bring in clean, safe drinking water and teach good hygiene practices – especially important to help prevent disease when exposed to raw sewage or stagnant water. We also organize emergency food distributions for those who have lost their access to food, paying particularly close attention to pregnant women and infants as they are most at risk of malnutrition.

Disaster relief often lasts long after the disaster occurs. You probably remember January 12, 2010, when Haiti experienced a massive earthquake affecting over 3 million people and destroying a large portion of the country. It has been over a year since the earthquake, and Action Against Hunger is still on the ground bringing relief to thousands of Haitians each day.

For example, ACF has:

  • Delivered more than 500 thousand gallons of clean water, reaching 30,000 Haitians each day
  • Built more than one thousand latrines in Port-au-Prince, benefiting over 100,000 people.
  • Distributed over 5 million water purification tablets to people at risk of contracting cholera.

When natural disasters occur, it is crucial for the people affected to receive the resources necessary for them to maintain a healthy, safe standard of living while their community is in repair. It is for this reason that ACF’s disaster response programs are of the utmost importance in the wake of natural disasters.

You can check out more stories from Haiti, and more about our response to the earthquake in Japan.

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