As Mexico braces for Hurricane Patricia, more than 500 Mexican Red Cross volunteers are ready to support with first aid, logistics, relief distributions, shelter support and damage assessments. The Mexican Red Cross has pre-positioned 18 emergency response units—including ambulances—around Puerto Vallarta, have positioned thirty tons of relief supplies in advance of Hurricane Patricia making landfall, and are assisting with community evacuations.
The American Red Cross works closely with the Mexican Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid and assistance during large emergencies. Disaster specialists at the American Red Cross are monitoring the storm closely, remain in close contact with colleagues at the Mexican Red Cross, and are on standby to assist. As in all international disasters, the American Red Cross intervenes when the national society (in this case, the Mexican Red Cross) requests outside help.
Here in Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino, trained Red Cross volunteers have been asked to update their availability to deploy should the need arise; Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles and their drivers are on alert; and experienced leadership staff are on standby should their expertise be needed to help run Red Cross disaster relief operations in affected areas.
“We are part of the geographic network of Red Cross chapters who will be among the first called to help our brothers and sisters in Texas and the South if this hurricane results in extensive damage and flooding. We are leaning forward to be ready to respond quickly if needed,” said Linda Voss, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross Desert to Sea Region, serving Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
In the past, the American Red Cross has provided aid to families impacted by heavy storms and flooding in Mexico, such as the distribution of kitchen items, household cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene kits in the wake of Hurricanes Manuel and Ingrid, which struck in September 2013. In response to Hurricane Odile—which made landfall in September 2014—the American Red Cross made a financial donation to aid survivors and helped reconnect families of US citizens who were stranded in Mexico. Red Cross chapters supported the reception of flights with returning tourists in Texas and provided snacks, comfort items, mental health support and calls to reconnect families. Likewise, the Mexican Red Cross makes itself available to aid the American Red Cross during emergencies, which it did during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
WHAT TO DO NOW
Many people in Southern California have friends and loved ones who live in areas that are in the path of the storm, and places like Puerto Vallarta are popular vacation destinations for people from our area. People in the U.S. are encouraged to help their friends and loved ones in the path of the storm be prepared:
• Find out where they will get information on when and where to evacuate, especially if they are visiting from out of town and aren’t familiar with evacuation routes and procedures.
• Set up your emergency communications plan with them NOW, while communications are still up. How will you get in touch and know they're safe if phone lines and cell towers go down?
• If they are American citizens in Mexico, they should check with the U.S. Department of State for guidance.
• Ensure they have an emergency kit with supplies for at least 3 days, including food, water, medications, important documents, clothing, a crank radio, back-up chargers for phones, etc. Find a full list here
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Red Cross Desert to Sea Region serves Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.