Posted: Monday, May 31, 2021. 8:21 pm CST.
By Zoila Palma: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) issued a statement today saying that its teams across the Americas are preparing for the start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
Experts predict 13 to 20 named storms forming in the Atlantic Ocean only, six to 10 of those developing into hurricanes, and three to five possibly becoming major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher.
These storms could bring further devastation to a region that is still heavily affected by last year’s storms and hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the next 6 months, deadly 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.
“In Central America and Colombia, thousands of families are still recovering from damage caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota, which affected more than 7.5 million people just six months ago. Recovery has been hindered by the pandemic, which has wiped people’s economic resources, strained health systems and caused challenges to the response,” Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General, said.
In addition, Chapagain said that the COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of complexity with overlapping crises.
To mitigate the logistical challenges caused by COVID-19 restrictions, the IFRC has prepositioned humanitarian goods in Panama, Guatemala, Honduras and across the Caribbean to provide immediate response to the humanitarian needs of up to 60,000 people.
The IFRC says that it is paying particular attention to the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, where several countries have been affected by La Soufrière’s volcanic eruption and where COVID-19 cases and deaths are currently reaching a record high and the socio-economic impact of the pandemic is particularly severe.
In Belize, vulnerable communities are continuouly being trained in preparedness and response by the Belize Red Cross.
Each community has developed its own Community Disaster Response Plan and simulations are held to test these plans.
Likewise, relief stocks have been pre-positioned in each district branch and in Belize City for quick response and Staff and Volunteers are prepared to respond to any disaster, while COVID relief operations continue countrywide.
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