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Disaster Prep and First Response

Celebrities and Supporters Unite for Disaster Relief

Photo: Courtesy of Gladys Vega

The 2018 hurricane season is forecast to be incredibly destructive, and it comes on the heels of record-breaking losses from disaster in 2017. California had its most damaging and largest wildfire season ever, Hurricane Harvey brought more than 4 feet of rain to areas of Houston, Hurricane Irma was the most powerful Caribbean hurricane on record and Maria caused the longest blackout in U.S. history on the island of Puerto Rico. How can we forget when large swaths of the island are still without electricity?

As much as we would like to consider 2017 an anomaly, scientists warn that this could be the new normal, and people should be prepared for more frequent and severe storms. This is a key reason behind Entertainment Industry Foundation’s expansion of our Disaster Relief framework and our call to the public, along with the entertainment community, to join us.

Coming together

Research and history tell us that recovery efforts are more powerful when responders are coordinated. Entertainment Industry Foundation is a testament to collaboration among supporters and funders. If Stand Up To Cancer’s $480 million raised for critical research has taught us anything, it’s that when caring people join forces, they raise more money and elevate a cause.

An inspiring example is Somos Una Voz for Puerto Rico after the island was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria last fall. In a matter of weeks, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez and an alliance of more than fifty artists, athletes and other entertainment figures united to do their part for Puerto Rico via the Somos Live! Benefit Concert.

“After a disaster of this magnitude, we must come together and join forces to make the greatest impact,” said Marc Anthony.  “I am proud of the support Somos is providing to affected communities. Our people of Puerto Rico deserve to enjoy happy and healthy lives.”

Meeting ongoing needs

We are encouraged by the work taking place to help children and their families on the ground and we acknowledge the extraordinary need that still exists. You have likely heard about the ongoing power outages, school closures and slow rebuilding of infrastructure and homes. These challenges represent the ongoing trauma residents endure every day as recovery efforts continue.

“It’s clear that the physical and mental health needs of the community, especially among children, increase significantly following a disaster while services remain limited,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, who has been directly involved in grantmaking for the project in Puerto Rico. “We strive to meet the needs of the community and the children, not just immediately following the disaster, but for months and years to come.”

Accountability matters

It’s important to note that accountability is a major focus of grants and programs supported by EIF and its partners. Calling on teams of experienced and dedicated subject matter experts, we ensure that funds raised by the public as well as high-visibility individuals are effectively and efficiently distributed to assist people struggling to recover from disaster. For all distributions, goals are clear and impact measures are tracked and reported.

People do not deserve to suffer in the wake of these emergencies, and we know that together we can accomplish more. We invite you to join us.

Nicole Sexton, [email protected]

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