Devastating flooding continues in Houston, the country's fourth largest city, where droves of people stranded and displaced by the deadly floods from Hurricane Harvey are being transported to nearby evacuation centers and shelters. Save the Children is expanding its emergency response in Texas, including at the George R. Brown Emergency Center in Houston, pictured above.
Photo credit: Susan Warner for Save the Children
Mega-Shelters Pose Risks; Children's Unique Needs Must Be Prioritized in Houston
Save the Children Delivering Essential Supplies for Infants and Toddlers, Opening Child-Friendly Spaces in Houston Shelters
Fairfield, Conn. (August 31, 2017) — The biggest rainstorm in the history of the continental U.S. has thousands seeking refuge in Houston's mega-shelters from Hurricane Harvey's life-threatening floods; Save the Children is delivering critical supplies to families and opening additional Child-Friendly Spaces today in the city's shelters. By the end of the day, the organization and its partners will have provided support to shelters serving more than half of the displaced population.
"Before we arrived, a toddler who was sleeping on a cot next to his parents woke up in the middle of the night and wandered to a different part of one of the mega shelters, where he fell asleep again — he was missing for hours," said Save the Children President & CEO Carolyn Miles from a mega shelter in Houston. "We're here to make sure kids are safe and cared for, and that their unique needs are prioritized."
Save the Children is providing infant and toddler supplies at all three mega shelter sites — including portable cribs and sheets, strollers, infant and toddler hygiene kits and portable washbasins — and will be distributing donated children's clothing and school supplies in the coming days.
In addition to supplies, Save the Children is establishing Child-Friendly Spaces—safe, well-supervised areas within shelters where children can play, socialize and begin to recover from the disaster, while allowing their parents to concentrate on addressing the family's immediate and longer-term needs. The organization is opening spaces in mega-shelters at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Stadium, and plans to open more spaces as the need develops.
"Children are the most affected in the wake of emergencies and disasters, and often their needs fall through the cracks," added Miles. "Hurricane Harvey has had a massive impact on children, who need to be a priority in the immediate response and recovery."
Miles is on the ground in Houston's mega-shelters, and available for media interviews.
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