Disaster and Emergency Preparedness for Native Americans
Preparedness. It’s a word that comes up a lot this time of year, with Mother Nature bringing seasonal weather disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes – and soon enough, the chill of winter. Additionally, September is National Preparedness Month.
The physical environment on the reservations we support is often harsh; giving rise to a wide range of environmental disasters such as floods, forest fires, blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes and hurricanes. That is why Partnership With Native Americans assists tribes with emergency preparedness through home weatherization and repairs.
Elders, who are particularly vulnerable in disasters and emergencies, benefit directly from PWNA’s efforts. Working through Program Partners at senior centers and other programs in tribal communities, PWNA has weatherized homes for Elders in Navajo communities such as Kayenta, Chilchinbito, Dennehotso, Oljato (Monument Valley), Inscription House, and Shonto, as well as communities of the Zuni, Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. By providing plastic window covering, weather stripping, caulking, and the labor to do the work, Elders’ homes are more likely to be protected from the bitter cold seeping into living areas.
While preparedness is key, even the best preparation can’t contend with certain disasters or particularly harsh environments. In those cases, PWNA assistance includes firewood, coal and winter fuel vouchers; and emergency kits containing blankets, batteries, candles and water. PWNA also supplies provisions for children who are traumatized or displaced, and for the homeless and disabled living in shelters on the reservations. In the case of disaster relief, PWNA extends its response beyond its normal service area, getting aid to where the tribes need it.
As you consider preparedness for your own home this month, consider ways you can help others be prepared. We are still seeking donations for our 100 Day Supply Drive for #NativePartnerHOPE – contribute today!