It’s been a year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and while many children and families are still reeling from the effects, recovery efforts have made some progress. Michelle Centeno, UNICEF USA’s Manager for Humanitarian Emergencies and Executive Communications, visited the island earlier this month to observe the impact of ongoing assistance efforts, and the launch of a new nutrition program for children.
It was on Aug. 25, 2017, that Hurricane Harvey made landfall, slamming Texas and parts of Louisiana with Category-4 winds and heavy rains and causing catastrophic flooding — one of the worst weather disasters in U.S. history.
Some 13 million people were affected, including 3 million children in the hardest-hit areas in and around Houston. For many children who witnessed the destruction, as homes, schools and communities were being washed away, so too was their sense of security, normalcy and well being.
Hurricane Harvey's flooding caused one of the worst weather disasters in U.S. history, with recovery costs estimated in the billions of dollars. UNICEF USA is working with the Houston departments of health and education, the mayor's office and NGO partners to provide counseling and education for the most marginalized and vulnerable children in Harvey's wake. UNICEF USA is also providing educational materials to students and teachers displaced from their schools by the storm.
One month after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, 1 million Americans on the island have no running water and 3 million are without electrical power.
Jeremie, in remote southwestern Haiti, was devastated by the Category 4 hurricane and left inaccessible by road. More than 60,000 homes were destroyed, and the main hospital was severely damaged. Schools are being used as shelters for thousands of displaced families.
UNICEF USA’s Michelle Marion arrived in Jeremie on Saturday, where she spoke with survivors, including seven-year-old Louisniva. Her account of what she witnessed in Jeremie:
For decades, UNICEF has been working in Jamaica to improve the lives of children in four key areas: creating and supporting quality education; protecting children from abuse and violence; providing mental and physicial health services; and preparing for emergencies and natural disasters — such as Hurricane Matthew on the horizon.