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Preparing for Atlantic hurricane season

1 July 2013

We are working with communities to prepare for storms during the Atlantic hurricane season which can potentially threaten lives and cause serious material damage.

Major hurricanes expected

US climate scientists have predicted the Atlantic hurricane season, which started on 1 June and lasts for six months, to be active.

Between 13 and 20 named storms are expected, of which between three and six will become major hurricanes.

With such strong winds and a high volume of rain, tropical storms and hurricanes are extremely destructive - they threaten lives, homes, businesses and crops.

The poorest communities have the fewest resources to cope with and bounce back from disasters like these.

Establishing emergency committees

Mauricio Cruz, emergency committee coordinator Our partners equip community-led emergency committees to help vulnerable people at risk in the hurricane belt.

In El Salvador, partner PROCARES (Training Association Programme for the Reconstruction of El Salvador) established and trained emergency committees to help in the event of a storm.

Mauricio Cruz, left, has been trained by PROCARES to coordinate a group of 10 community emergency committees in his region to prepare in advance of the hurricane season.

Shattering cyclone

Back in October 2011, El Salvador’s most devastating cyclone in history, ‘Tropical Depression Twelve-E’ struck - rains lasted for more than 10 days.

Mauricio explains: ‘When the rainy season started, we began monitoring the level of the rivers. We also did simulations, and we had early warning systems.’

Following the storm warnings in October 2011, Mauricio sent a team of eight young people to go round to communities warning people to leave their homes.

‘Radios are very important’ explains Mauricio. ‘They help us alert the brigades and evacuate the communities. We also used boats to rescue people, especially isolated families.’

Unfortunately one person in Mauricio’s area died, but given the extent of the flooding, it is a testament to the emergency committees, the evacuation brigades and the early warning systems that nobody else lost their life.

Sustainable support

A kayak used by evacuation teams trained by PROCARES Through emergency committees, Christian Aid partners are having a big impact in the hurricane region.

Not only are they giving physical resources to communities such as radios, boats and shelters to help them in an emergency, they are also equipping communities with leadership, organisational and lobbying skills.

This support is truly sustainable as these are skills that communities will be able to use for years to come.

Please help us to continue to help communities like Mauricio’s by donating to Christian Aid today

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