Hurricane Relief Efforts and How You Can Help

A Haitian girl searches through the remnants of her home for possessions after it was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016




Hurricanes, typhoons and tropical storms can wreak havoc even in developed nations. But they can be catastrophic in countries where there is widespread poverty, deforestation and inadequate emergency services.

Strong winds, heavy rain, tidal surges, flooding and mudslides can kill or injure thousands. Children and their families who live in coastal areas — or in poorly constructed housing — can become homeless for months. Ineffective evacuation plans can also put children and their families in danger. And in the aftermath of such extreme weather events, water-borne diseases like cholera can spread rapidly.

That's why UNICEF works to enhance emergency response in vulnerable communities before disaster strikes. These efforts are particularly focused in countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and in the South Pacific where sea levels are rising and storms are intensifying as a result of climate change

Hurricane Relief Efforts

After a storm hits, UNICEF's emergency response teams bring lifesaving relief: water purification tablets, vaccines and nutrition supplements for children and nursing mothers; tents and temporary shelters for families; school kits; counseling to help children deal with trauma and other services. UNICEF also works to reunite children who are separated from their parents.

And then UNICEF helps communities build back better by working with governments and other partners to improve education, strengthen health systems and enhance disaster preparedness.

Hurricane Donations

UNICEF USA supports UNICEF's hurricane relief efforts around the world primarily through fundraising. Contributions from supporters go directly to support UNICEF's emergency preparation, response and rebuilding efforts in vulnerable communities worldwide.

UNICEF USA has expanded its role in recent years by partnering to assist children and families affected by hurricanes that swept through parts of the U.S. After Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in September 2017, UNICEF USA coordinated with UPS and other partners on the ground to deliver clean water and emergency supplies to affected families One year later, UNICEF USA was still on the ground assisting recovery efforts in storm-damaged communities. That support included helping to rehabilitate damaged homes.

After Hurricane Harvey swept through Texas in August 2017, affecting 13 million people — including 3 million children — UNICEF USA jumped in to assist with the response, helping partners bring immediate relief and longer-term support to those impacted. That support included providing learning materials and otherwise helping teachers set up in temporary classrooms so kids whose schools had been shut down by the storm could quickly get back to learning.

After Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique and neighboring countries in March 2019, UNICEF worked with the Mozambique government and other partners to coordinate and scale up emergency response efforts and meet the urgent needs of affected children and families. The efforts focused on preventing a spike in malnutrition, identifying children who may have been orphaned from their families and getting children back to school. One month after the cyclone hit, UNICEF had successfully immunized 900,000 people against cholera, had begun distribution of 500,000 mosquito nets to protect children from malaria, and had helped restore the water supply for 500,000 people in the city of Beira. UNICEF also helped restore safe water, health care and education for those affected by the cyclone in Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Donations from UNICEF supporters make all of this possible.

Hurricane Relief Fund

UNICEF relies on donor support to fulfill its mission — to be there before, during and after disaster strikes. It's important to keep that support going on a continuous basis, so that UNICEF can pre-position supplies in advance of an emergency, and react quickly as situations escalate and needs change. UNICEF's supply operation is capable of mobilizing and delivering relief items within 48 to 72 hours — but donor support is critical, and setting up a monthly donation goes even further toward helping UNICEF sustain these activities. Giving monthly helps ensure that UNICEF has the necessary resources on standby to respond in real time to extreme weather events which are often unpredictable.

Help UNICEF bring lifesaving relief to children and families in need. Every donation counts. Give with confidence