The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to work with AAP chapters, federal disaster response and recovery agencies, and non-governmental organizations to ensure that children's needs are taken care of in a strategic manner during the long-term recovery period after the 2017 hurricanes.
- ASPR – Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
- CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and it's Children's Preparedness Unit
- DHS – US Department of Homeland Security
- FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency
- HHS – US Department of Health and Human Services
Soon after the hurricanes, the AAP leadership appointed a work group to oversee hurricane recovery efforts in collaboration with the AAP Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council. The AAP contacted various AAP chapters. Critical needs were identified and addressed as feasible:
- Assessment of Children in Shelters
- Disruptions in Supply Chain Distribution
- Communication About Pediatric Needs
- Identify and convey information on pediatric needs to federal agencies
- Offer support for the AAP chapter and its members
- Assess the extent to which pediatric care is being provided
- Determine how best to sustain the pediatric work force and promote access to care
- Plan long-term recovery strategies and promote adjustment to help children cope
- Vaccine Storage and Replacement
There are several health issues that pediatricians can expect to manage after hurricanes or floods.
- Power outages, which might result in extreme temperature.
- Need to emphasize safe generator use and protect children from carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Exposure to mold (children should be the last to return during flood recovery or when disaster clean-up is needed).
- Infectious diseases, including leptospirosis, dengue, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, vibriosis, and influenza. Need to encourage hand-hygiene when running water is available.
- Mosquito borne diseases, including Zika, dengue, malaria, and others.
- Environmental management of asthma.
- Keep food and water safe.
- Support children's mental health by offering adjustment and coping strategies, psychological first aid, along with encouraging adults to talk to children.
- Special needs of pregnant women, new mothers and their newborns (especially when water and/or medical care is not consistently available)
For more information also see:
AAP Announcements or Articles
For Those Interested in Traveling to Puerto Rico
The AAP does not send teams to disaster-impacted areas or endorse/approve any particular means of traveling to or volunteering in Puerto Rico or other disaster-impacted areas, yet the organization hopes to continue to keep its members informed of relevant opportunities. The security and safety of members continues to be a high priority, and members are urged to educate themselves about the reality of travel details, security issues, liability insurance, living conditions, and other details regarding the provision of medical care in austere conditions. It is important that health care professionals carry copies of licenses and board certifications when traveling, as well as become knowledgeable about documentation needed when taking medicines into a foreign country.
Other Ways to Help Out