Save the Children Helping Kids and Families Affected by Catastrophic Hurricane Michael

Emergency Response Team Delivering Essential Child-Focused Supplies, Preparing to Set up Safe Play Spaces for Children in Shelters

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (October 15, 2018) — The strongest storm on record to ever hit the Florida Panhandle, Hurricane Michael, ripped many children from the lives they once knew, and Save the Children is on the ground working to support the most urgent needs of kids and families impacted by the devastating storm.

Save the Children’s emergency response team is based in the Tallahassee area, delivering essential child-focused supplies to displaced and affected children and their families in the hardest hit areas of the Panhandle and southwest Georgia – including hygiene kits, diapers and baby wipes. More than 6,500 diapers and nearly 700 hygiene kits and 150 packages of baby wipes have been distributed to families so far, and daily distributions are planned over the coming weeks.

The emergency response team is also preparing to set up safe play spaces in shelters in the Panhandle’s hardest-hit areas – where children can play, learn and cope – and working to ensure shelter conditions are safe and accommodating for families. In addition, Save the Children is collaborating with national and local partners to assess children’s immediate needs, as well as the needs of local child care, early learning and community partners and education services, to help children get back to routine and regain access to education services as quickly as possible.

“Thousands of children have no idea what the future may hold in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael," said Sarah Thompson, Save the Children’s director for U.S. emergencies. “Loss and displacement during disasters can affect children for years to come, and it’s critical children and families return to normalcy as soon as possible – as well as get the essentials they need during this difficult time.” 

One mom who rode out the storm in a Panama City shelter, protecting her children under a mattress, said Hurricane Michael was “like the apocalypse,” adding that its winds and destruction were worse than Hurricane Katrina. 

“It can be a very scary and stressful situation for kids,” Thompson added. “Their homes might be destroyed, they might not know when they'll get back to school, and they might not know where their friends are.”

As the national leader for children in emergencies, Save the Children deployed an emergency response team to Florida last year in response to Hurricane Irma, and remains on-the-ground in the Sunshine State, committed to restoring early learning programs and helping children heal emotionally from the distress of the catastrophic storm. In the direct aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Save the Children set up child friendly spaces in evacuation shelters and coordinated emergency distributions of child-centric materials – and continues to play a leading role in getting children back to learning and returning to normalcy. 

By contributing to Save the Children’s Hurricane Michael Children’s Relief Fund, you can help Save the Children protect vulnerable children and provide desperately needed relief to families.

To learn more about Save the Children, please go to www.SavetheChildren.org.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. 

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Note to Editors:

Sarah Thompson, who is leading Save the Children’s Hurricane Michael response and has responded to numerous U.S. emergencies in the past 8 years -- including Hurricane Sandy, the Oklahoma tornadoes, the 2017 hurricanes, and Hurricane Florence – is available for media interviews. Please contact Jeremy Soulliere at jsoulliere@savechildren.org or (203) 295-5842, or Claire Garmirian at cgarmirian@savechildren.org or (203) 209-8545, to set up an interview.

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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