Hurricane Season 2010: World Vision Warns Oil Spill, Weak Economy Threaten 'Perfect Storm' For Gulf Coast's Lower-Income Families

Jun 15, 2010, 15:33 ET from World Vision

- Agency has stocked disaster response items at 10 sites across U.S.; Dallas warehouse on alert for any Gulf Coast response

- World Vision calling for corporate donations of quality, new products in advance of first storms

GRAND ISLE, La., June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As this year's Atlantic hurricane season gets underway, aid group World Vision warns the Gulf Coast's most vulnerable children and families face additional hardships from the massive oil spill and ongoing weak economy.

"If storm surges carry the oil slick inland, we have a potential health threat for children and families," said Phyllis Freeman, World Vision's U.S. disaster response director. "If the oil coats homes, clean-up costs for lower-income families or those without insurance may be too much to bear."

Freeman is in Grand Isle, Louisiana this week meeting with local school district officials and church partners to discuss children's needs in particular.

"Even without any hurricanes, the oil spill is hurting family incomes here; that means when it's time to go back to school, many of the children here won't have the uniforms or school supplies they need. Add a major hurricane, and we could be looking at a 'perfect storm' for these families' ability to cope," Freeman said.

The Christian humanitarian organization responds to some 85 disasters a year globally and has been actively coordinating with regional authorities and other members of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) in anticipation of a destructive hurricane season.

"We know from experience that families who have lost employment or who can't afford insurance are the most vulnerable, and the weak economy makes it even harder for them to pay for gas, motels and necessities for their children if they have to evacuate," said Freeman.

World Vision hopes corporate donors will take notice of the early predictions to begin donating the most needed items now, before the first storms come ashore.

"We need hygiene products, medical supplies, clothing, baby items, and children's toys to get families through the first days and weeks," Freeman explained. "For clean-up and recovery after a hurricane, survivors need cleaning supplies and equipment, building materials, bedding and school supplies."

The aid group already has several truckloads of response items on standby in Dallas and Los Angeles, but anticipates a greater need this year given the hurricane forecasts.

Corporations interested in donating quality, new products should call 1-800-642-1616. The public can help World Vision prepare for hurricanes and other disasters in the United States by contributing to its American Families Assistance Fund at 1.888.56.CHILD or www.worldvision.org.

Note to Editor:

World Vision has also put supplies and relief staff on standby across Central American and the Caribbean. Earthquake survivors in Haiti are considered particularly vulnerable this year because issues of land rights have slowed the building of temporary shelters.

To interview a U.S. disaster response expert, contact Casey Calamusa at 206.310.5476 or ccalamus@worldvision.org.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Visit www.worldvision.org/press.

SOURCE World Vision



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