One year ago today, Hurricane Irma made landfall on Cudjoe Key, Florida as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds. As it barreled across the Florida Keys and into the Gulf of Mexico, residents fled Irma's dangerous path before it once again made landfall on Marco Island. Homes were destroyed, and millions were left without power as the hurricane continued up the state and into Georgia.
MAP provided thousands of its signature Disaster Health Kits (DHK) to affected residents in both states. DHKs provide essential items to help prevent the spread of disease. Each kit is designed to help meet the needs of one person residing in a shelter for one week.
Senior Partnership Development Officer, Kipp Branch was on the ground one year ago assisting families affected by Irma.
In this interview, Kipp describes how MAP prepares in advance for disasters and then acts immediately to help people in need.
Q: How does MAP prepare for each disaster?
"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 works with dozens of such partners around the world. If MAP has advance warning, we ask what supplies will be needed and what distribution is available."
Q: What actions does MAP take immediately following a disaster event?
"As soon as we know that many people will be affected in an area, we send a supply of Disaster Health Kits (DHK) 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 hygiene supplies provided in DHKs help prevent disease and allow displaced people to care for themselves and their families. DHKs also let them know that someone cares."
Q: Does MAP keep disaster relief supplies in stock?
"MAP has prepositioned thousands of DHKs at our global distribution facility in Brunswick, Georgia that are ready for deployment in a disaster situation. Volunteers pack these kits either in our warehouse or at packing events at businesses, churches or schools or businesses. Because of their help, we're able to respond very quickly."
As we honor those impacted by Hurricane Irma one year ago today, know that MAP is once again ready and prepared to assist those potentially affected by Hurricane Florence, and other storms in the region. Thanks to compassionate donors like you, MAP International will respond with life-saving medicines and health supplies.
But we cannot do this alone.
Please join us in assisting lives today and giving MAP the ability to respond rapidly to disasters.