Shelter in Disaster

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Most governments provide emergency shelters before, during and after natural disasters. These are usually schools, churches or government buildings. Don't expect to be treated like royalty at these shelters. They are not private, are usually uncomfortable and often overcrowded.

Bring water, some food and several changes of clothing with you when you must go to a shelter. Let someone know which one you are going to in case of urgency. Find out where the nearest shelter is to your home should you need to evacuate suddenly - you don't want to be wandering around during a hurricane, for example, looking for a safe place to stay.

Pets are not allowed in shelters. In the case of hurricanes, it is best to leave dogs and cats to fend for themselves, perhaps in a safe, windowless room in the house.

They don't mind getting soaked if the roof blows off. Do not tether domestic animals, since they might have to find high ground in case of flooding. Leave them plenty of food and water.


You can live for months or more without food. Without water, just a few days. It is impossible to store too much water. You need it for hygiene, washing and drinking. You should always have a minimum of two weeks' supply for everyone in the house. The average person uses 130 gallons of water a day to shower, wash up dishes, and drink. Make water your number-one priority in preparing for a disaster.

· Drinking Water: Fill several plastic one-gallon jugs (with caps) with good clean water. To make sure the container itself is clean, add a cup or so of water to a few tablespoons of chlorine bleach and slosh it in the container. Rinse well, then fill the container with the drinking (and cooking) water. Five or six gallons per person should be enough. If you leave your home, take as much of this clean water as possible with you.

· Fill the bathtub with tap water, and fill every available bucket and sink. Add bleach to the standing, uncovered water at the rate of two tablespoons per gallon (this will prevent microbial growth and mosquito breeding). Water stored in tubs, etc., should only be used for personal hygiene and washing up.

· Water used for brushing teeth and for cleaning contact lenses should be purified with bleach or a commercial water-purification method available at most supermarkets and pharmacies.


Chances are, water will insinuate itself in your house in spite of your precautionary measures. Nevertheless, you can guard your most cherished possessions from damage and protect yourself from misery and desolation by following these simple recommendations:

· Acquire large, sturdy, impermeable bags to store small valuables such as jewellery, photographs and important documents.

· Objects of considerable size such as electronic equipment, paintings, sculptures and books must be stored in large, hermetically sealed or double layered garbage bags. Make sure that the bag is absolutely impervious to water.

· Boxes are just as effective for encasing your belongings, in that they are spacious and allow for easier handling. Pad the box with a large plastic bag before putting objects in the box and if possible, wrap the box with plastic sheeting.

· After the hurricane, the bags will still be beneficial for domestic use


1 qt. water (boiled)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
Pinch bicarbonate of soda
1 lime or lemon

Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly. Take two glasses and seek the advice of a doctor. Remember, in the case of diarrhoea avoid milk, cheese, butter and any other milk-based products.