Even before a disaster hits, MAP becomes a disaster response center. When we know a hurricane is forming, or receive news of an earthquake, or see refugees fleeing conflict, MAP springs into action. Our first question is always, “How can we best help those most affected?”
To respond effectively requires good communication with trusted partners on the ground and nearest to the disaster.
Fortunately, MAP has dozens of such partners around the world. If we have some advanced warning, such as we did with Hurricane Harvey, we ask what supplies will be needed and what distribution is available.
As soon as we knew that so many people would be displaced in the Houston area, we sent a supply of Disaster Health Kits to the scene to be distributed at shelters. The contents of these kits help people who have fled with nothing receive both tangible help and emotional support. The basic health supplies help prevent disease and allow displaced people to care for themselves and their families. They also let them know that someone cares.
We try to keep a supply of assembled Disaster Health Kits on hand for just such a situation. Volunteers pack these kits either in our warehouse or at packing events at churches, schools or businesses. Because of their help, we’re able to very quickly respond.
We already know that water born diseases, mold and other problems will be facing the victims of Hurricane Harvey for many months. As we work with local churches and nonprofits in the affected areas, we continue to ask, “How can we best help those most affected?”
Kipp Branch is Senior Partnership Development Officer at MAP. He has worked for MAP for 24 years and helped respond to dozens of disasters.
Learn more about MAP's Hurricane Harvey response at www.map.org/harvey. Please keep everyone in the path of Hurricane Irma in your prayers as well as those recovering from Hurricane Harvey.