In recent years, the devastating impact of hurricanes, typhoons and other disasters have highlighted a critical need: more effective planning and preparation is needed to help communities respond quickly when natural disasters strike.

With the hurricane season beginning soon on June 1, Abbott is once again helping at-risk communities prepare in advance. Through two initiatives with longstanding partners Feeding America and Direct Relief, we're strategically pre-stocking "disaster relief packs" containing nutritional and medical products in coastal communities at high risk of hurricanes and typhoons in the Pacific, Central America, the Caribbean and the U.S.

The disaster relief packs are provided to food banks, safety net clinics and nonprofit organizations, getting the right products in the right places, before a disaster hits. These packs are designed to provide the first wave of relief for up to 116,000 people following a hurricane or typhoon—filling the gap until traditional relief efforts can provide ongoing support.

For nearly a decade, Abbott has worked with partners to help local food banks and clinics to meet immediate community needs following Hurricanes Sandy, Isaac, Dolly, Faye, Gustav and Ike, as well as the earthquake in Haiti and flooding in Central America. Since 2006, Abbott has provided more than $8 million in product donations for the disaster pack initiatives, providing people affected by these disasters with the care and nutrition they needed thanks to these innovative partnerships.

Following is an overview of Abbott's two partnerships with Feeding America and Direct Relief in 2014:

Helping Food Banks Provide Needed Nutrition
Abbott works with the leading hunger-relief charity in the U.S., Feeding America, to provide 5,400 disaster relief packs to 22 local food banks across seven states on the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas) and Puerto Rico.

The relief packs will serve more than 16,000 people, meeting their nutritional needs for three days. Each food bank receives two types of packs: one designed specifically for families of two and one designed for families of four. Among the nutritional products that are included are nutritional bars and drinks for adults and children, and rehydration solutions.

For more information on Feeding America, click here.

Supporting Health Clinics in Providing Critical Care
In partnership with Direct Relief, a nonprofit organization providing medical assistance to people worldwide, disaster preparedness packs are provided to community clinics and health centers across Central America, the Caribbean, the Philippines and the U.S.

The packs contain Abbott nutritional products, diabetes monitors and test strips, as well as products from other donors that treat a wide range of health issues from basic trauma to chronic conditions. Taken together, the packs can provide immediate care for more than 100,000 people, helping to provide immediate care for vulnerable people who are affected by the disaster, as well as mitigate mass referrals to local hospitals.

In the U.S., 50 health clinics across nine states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia) receive the packs, which are designed to provide the most critical medical products for 100 patients over a 72-hour period.

In other countries, the packs are much larger and designed to sustain 5,000 people for one month. A total of 18 packs will be pre-positioned with partners in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua and the Philippines.

For more information on Direct Relief, click here.

Additional Resources for Hurricane Preparation
For more information on Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 25-31, 2014), which aims to raise awareness and advance preparedness, click here.

For more information on the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season forecast, click here; for the Pacific hurricane/typhoon season forecast, click here.

To learn more about how to prepare for hurricanes, click here.