It’s hard for me to believe but today is the 2-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s U.S. landfall. Two years ago my children and I hunkered down for the night in our dining room. I brought mattresses, blankets, pillows and lots of stuffed animals downstairs and we all “camped out”. I tried hard to not scare them and make it like we were having a fun camp out. All the while I was petrified for what the night and morning would bring.
With daylight brought the news of so much devastation in our area. We woke up to a bit calmer weather but still very windy. My husband, who is by no means an alarmist, insisted that we all stay indoors. When our dog Finnegan needed to go out we didn’t let him free in our yard as we typically would, Rob walked him the back on leash for fear that the winds would bring down a tree in our yard and hurt Finnegan. This tree came down a few houses from us
Many parts of my hometown of Staten Island were totally destroyed. Our beloved New Jersey Shore was devastated and so many other parts of our area as well. People lost their homes, others without power for weeks. When I saw a photo of the Tide Loads of Hope trucks just a few miles from my parents home it really drove home how in need our area was. My parents waited in line for coffee and to charge their cell phone. My sister who lived in Asbury Park at the time had an enormous tree fall on her house (while she was in it).
Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states, killed 162 people, caused more than $50 million in damage and damaged or destroyed 650,000 homes and hundreds of child care centers and schools. It was the day that life turned upside down for thousands of children who suddenly lost everything – including their very sense of stability. Save the Children is still working with many of these children to help them rebound.
As parents we MUST get prepared, so that our children are better protected from disaster.
– Save the Children’s recent poll shows that 49% of U.S. parents don’t feel the very prepared to protect their children from disaster.
– 51% don’t think their child’s school or child care center is very prepared either.
– A whopping 74% of parents don’t think the federal government is prepared to protect their kids should disaster strike!
Some things YOU can do NOW
Print and share the Disaster plan checklists for families and a child’s school/child care.
Find them and more here: www.savethechildren.org/checklists
See how your state does in protecting children from disaster while they’re in school or child care.
Sign Save the Children’s pledge to protect children from disaster and encourage your followers to do the same.
Here is a post I wrote just before Hurricane Sandy. It’s a great resource on what you can do and get to be better prepared in an actual emergency.
Losing your entire sense of stability at such a young age can be devastating. Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program allows children to express their feelings and learn critical coping skills that allow them to bounce back and more forward. Without adequate support, children often fall permanently behind in school while they grapple with intense sadness, depression and anger.
Two years after Hurricane Sandy, Save the Children continues their work with children in the hardest-hit communities in New York and New Jersey.
Here is a recent picture of children from New York City’s Lower East Side expressing their feelings through drawing in Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program:
This picture goes back to shortly after Sandy, with 4-year-old Didi in Save the Children’s “Child-Friendly Space” at a NJ shelter:
From Save the Children:
Reunifying children with their parents/guardians is a crucial responsibility of the child care provider during an emergency. It took more than six months to reunify the final child with her family after they were separated in Hurricane Katrina. We can’t let that happen again.
Planning how you will communicate with parents will greatly facilitate the reunification process. Families expect to be quickly notified when an emergency happens, but effective communication should also happen before and after an emergency. First, share information about your program’s emergency plan. Second, routinely update parent/guardian contact numbers. Third, plan how you will alert parents/guardians in an actual emergency. Because telephone service could be disrupted during an emergency, prepare a back-up plan, perhaps asking a local radio or television station to broadcast your program’s emergency status.
Also become familiar with the National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System and the National Emergency Child Locator Center and the American Red Cross systems which have been developed to help reunite families who are separated during disaster.
Disclaimer: I wrote this post in conjunction with the #PANJ4Good Blogging Group. #PANJ4Good is a group of Philadelphia and New Jersey Bloggers hoping to spread the word of Social Good through their social networks