Central America is digging out from the first named storm of what promises to be a strong 2010 Pacific hurricane season.
Agatha slammed into Guatemala and El Salvador a week ago dropping record rain, killing at least 146 people and leaving a huge wake of destruction with thousands homeless. More than 94,000 people have been evacuated as the storm buried homes under mud slides, swept away a major bridge, and opened up sinkholes.
“This could be the worst hurricane season in the last 50 years,” said Paco Maldonado, coordinator for the Pan-American disaster response unit of International Federation of Red Cross in a telephone interview with Reuters. Forecasters say that as many as 14 tropical storms may form during the next five months.
Get Ready with Disaster Supplies
Be sure to plan for enough drinking water: 2 to 4 liters (that’s about 2 to 4 quarts per person per day).
For hurricanes, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends that your ‘disaster bag’ include the following items:
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Battery- or crank-operated portable NOAA weather radio (and spare batteries)
- First aid kit and manual
- Prescription medicines (be sure to refill them)
- Cash and a credit card
- Cell phone with a fully charged spare battery
- Spare keys
- High energy non-perishable food
- One warm blanket or sleeping bag per person
- Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
- Change of clothing
Take the Hurricane and Tornado Quiz (in the right-side bar) to help yourself learn how to survive. See if you’ve got what it takes to be a survivor. And make sure right now that you have supplies ready on hand when the time comes.