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UNICEF USA Reaching Out to Help Children Devastated by Hurricane Ida

September 1, 2021

Working with Church World Service and other local partners on the ground, UNICEF USA is leveraging technical expertise and resources to meet the needs of children impacted by the Category 4 storm.

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Families are still feeling the disastrous effects of Hurricane Ida, the ferocious storm that came ashore in Louisiana on August 29, bringing torrential rains and fierce winds that destroyed and damaged homes and businesses and knocked out power for nearly 1 million people, including the entire city of New Orleans. 

When emergencies strike, children are often the most affected, particularly children growing up in low-income communities and the children of refugee and migrant families. To reach these vulnerable children with the support they need to weather the effects of Hurricane Ida and resume their childhoods, UNICEF USA is leveraging relationships with local partners on the ground, providing access to technical expertise, resources, child protection and assistance.

After emergencies hit, UNICEF works with partners to help children weather the crisis and get back to being kids

UNICEF USA is working closely with Church World Service (CWS) and its network of national and local partners to conduct rapid assessments of children's needs to identify vulnerabilities and gaps in service provision, and then streamline vital interventions and responses. CWS is a cooperative ministry of 37 Christian denominations and communions, a number of which hold disaster response capabilities. 

Ida struck on the 16th anniversary of another ferocious weather event: Hurricane Katrina, a Category 5 storm that caused more than 1,800 deaths and $125 billion in damages. UNICEF USA was on the ground then too, delivering educational and recreational supplies to children whose lives had been turned upside-down. 

Watch the video to see how UNICEF USA supported children uprooted by Hurricane Katrina:

In recent years, UNICEF USA has helped traumatized children, parents and teachers recover after Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Michael

As the intensity and duration of storms has increased in the U.S. and its territories over the past few years, UNICEF USA has remained committed to protecting the physical and emotional well-being of children caught in the crosshairs of the growing climate emergency. In response to other recent weather-related disasters in the U.S., UNICEF USA has worked to address the needs of vulnerable children in Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida.

After Hurricane Harvey struck Houston in 2017, UNICEF USA advised local authorities on the needs of children, training teachers on how to identify and respond to distress in children, providing in-school group therapy for traumatized kids and support for Early Childhood teachers and parents, delivering classroom supply kits to teachers and more.

After Hurricane Maria left much of Puerto Rico without access to safe water in 2017, UNICEF and UPS rushed a shipment of 12,000 emergency kits to provide 60,000 vulnerable children and families with basic hygiene supplies for 30 days. © UNICEF USA

UNICEF USA provided support to those in need of safe water and other basic supplies in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017, and helped students and teacherse regain their sense of stability by supporting partners to develop a mental health curriculum that trains public school teachers and child-focused community-based organizations on mental health and emotional well-being. And when Hurricane Michael struck Bay County, Florida in 2018, UNICEF USA supported the training of teachers to help them better address the mental health and emotional needs of children whose lives had been severely impacted by the storm. 

UNICEF is there for for the most vulnerable children and families wherever they are, operating in difficult conditions and hard-to-reach places. You can help. In the event that donations exceed needs for Hurricane Ida, excess funds will go towards supporting UNICEF’s emergency preparedness and response efforts where needed the most.

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Top photo: Infrared satellite image of Hurricane Ida over the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2021. © NOAA