Social distancing during natural disasters

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Relief centres and shelter homes for that matter will face challenges as healthcare workers are concerned about asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19

Effective disaster response requires close contact just the opposite of social distancing.

Experts say that during disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricane and even volcanic eruptions, teams come together physically to help and save victims. In doing so, people come in close contact with each other adding extra risk to these life-saving activities.

Storm sheltering is one thing which cannot be done remotely. With the likelihood of more dangerous storms to come, many are debating whether they should abandon social distancing and seek safety in a community storm cellar in the event of a tornado warning.

Relief centres and shelter homes for that matter will face challenges as healthcare workers are concerned about asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19.

Many communities across the country, especially those in Tornado Alley, are now grappling with how to utilise traditional public safety techniques in a world in which social distancing is the new normal.

As severe weather season progresses and with a hurricane season that is expected to be more active than usual fast approaching, emergency management officials across the US are faced with the same difficult challenges: How to shelter people under social distancing guidelines, how to convince them to go to shelters after repeatedly telling them to stay home and how to respond to disasters when staff and resources are already spread thin.

Neighbouring states may not be able to lend a hand like they normally would.

Countries generally make their severe weather plans based on the number of people who would need shelter in a worst-case scenario.

The numbers are calculated to give each person in a shelter 20 square feet of personal space that does not necessarily allow for six feet between them, as mandated by social distancing guidelines.


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