While Hurricane Matthew has yet to make landfall in the southeastern United States, its strong winds and heavy rains threaten coastal states including Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. As of this morning, more than 600,000 are without power in the U.S. and one person has died. Our thoughts are with those who’ve been affected in the U.S., as well as with the hundreds who’ve lost loved ones in Haiti, the Bahamas, and throughout the Caribbean.
As Hurricane Matthew continues to loom along the coast, the threat of a storm surge remains a particular concern in these locations, as the resulting flooding could be devastating. In addition to the loss of life and property, flood events have public health implications as the conditions created by flooding place communities at risk for communicable disease outbreaks. To help local health departments prepare and respond to hurricanes and flooding, NACCHO has compiled several resources below.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has pre- and post-hurricane preparedness resources on topics such as compiling emergency supplies, creating a family disaster plan, preparing to evacuate, and protecting pets. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s (ASPR’s) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) has a number of resources that may be helpful to jurisdictions currently experiencing or at risk of flooding and flood-related health issues, including:
- Technical resources that cover a broad range of healthcare emergency preparedness topics and feature specific Topic Collections.
- A Resource Library featuring flood-specific resources (i.e., toolkits, case studies) that cover topics ranging from risk communication to disaster relief.
- An Information Exchange with a discussion forum on flooding, monitored to provide actual technical assistance responses. Participation in the forum requires a free, simple registration.
Another useful tool is the National Library of Medicine (NLM’s) Weather and Storms Informational Portal, providing real-time social media updates, situation reports, maps and general information in response to hurricanes and flooding. Finally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has compiled information in this document providing helpful tips for medicare beneficiaries living in an area that has been declared an emergency or disaster.
We encourage local health departments to explore CDC, ASPR’s TRACIE, NLM and CMS resources. As a reminder to all local health departments across the nation, NACCHO has a resource document available to help you assist communities in moving forward following a flooding event.
If you have any questions, please contact the NACCHO Preparedness Team.