Guest Column: How to help hurricane disaster victims

RBC | Having just started my job with Rio Blanco County Public Health, I have much to learn. One of the most

Julie Drake
interesting things I am getting trained for is emergency preparedness and response, so I have been riveted by the news and videos coming out on the response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
There are many governmental agencies, volunteer agencies and private businesses all mobilized to help. Being in public health, I get information from the Center for Disease Control. I found it interesting and worrisome that Friday September 1 the Center for Disease Control’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated to bring together staff and resources to respond to the public health needs in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
The CDC has deployed pharmacy supplies and six 250-bed medical stations. Two stations each are located in Baton Rouge, La., and Houston and Dallas, Texas. The two medical stations in Houston are operational; the remaining four are at their respective locations and will be set up, if needed.
This command center is for monitoring and coordinating CDC activities along with other U.S. government agencies to respond to public health threats, including drowning and floodwater safety, carbon monoxide poisoning, downed power lines, unsafe food and water, mold and other health risks. Floodwaters are filled with filth, create more filth and cause dramatic mold growth putting both emergency workers’ and residents’ health at risk.
If you want to know more about the recovery efforts, visit www.usa.gov/hurricane-harvey Here you will find both videos/photos as well as factual information. Unfortunately, in the midst of crisis there are many ill-intentioned folks that have already started scams and criminal activities. Rumors abound as well and this governmental site helps you discern the truth.
Good thoughts, donations and many prayers are needed to support the response effort, including those of the CDC.

Julie Drake is the director of public health for Rio Blanco County.

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