IFRC PREPARES FOR THE HURRICANE SEASON IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is mobilizing and increasing the efforts of hundreds of Red Cross teams in the Americas to prepare for the 2021 hurricane season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specialists predict that, in the Atlantic Ocean alone, 13 to 20 named storms could form, of which between six and 10 would become hurricanes and three to five would become Category 3 or higher hurricanes. These storms could bring further devastation to a region that is still hard hit by both last year's storms and hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the next six months, dangerous rains, landslides and floods could further affect communities already grappling with the pandemic, where vaccines are not yet widely available and where livelihoods have been destroyed.
To mitigate the logistical challenges caused by the COVID-19 restrictions, IFRC has pre-positioned humanitarian aid in Panama, Guatemala, Honduras and the Caribbean to immediately respond to the humanitarian needs of up to 60,000 people. At the same time, Red Cross teams share early warning messages with communities, and urge people to have food, water and other basic necessities on hand, since aid may take longer to arrive during the pandemic.
IFRC is paying particular attention to the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, where several countries have been affected by the La Soufrière volcanic eruption, COVID-19 cases and deaths are reaching a record high, and the socio-economic impact of the pandemic is particularly severe.