Perfect Storms: Responding to Hurricanes While Addressing COVID-19

Andrew Pericak
Jul 1 2020


Multiple forecasts have predicted a particularly active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. Complicating the response, this year institutions in coastal regions must contend with additional risks from the COVID-19 pandemic. State and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and corporations involved in disaster response should enact plans and policies now to protect public safety in the event of a hurricane strike while minimizing the risks associated with COVID-19. These actors should:

The Author

Andrew Pericak, MEM

Research Analyst @

  • Review and revise existing hurricane response plans to account for the presence of COVID-19;
  • Coordinate with officials and institutions responsible for running hurricane shelters to plan, prepare, and train for procedures to minimize the spread of COVID-19;
  • Put plans in place for evacuation shelters to maintain access to testing laboratories after hurricanes hit, and work with laboratories to scale up testing capacity to meet the need for testing shelter populations;
  • Assess hotel, motel, or even dormitory room capacity inland from coastal areas and develop plans for sending vulnerable evacuees to these individual, rather than communal, accommodations;
  • Develop and be prepared to enact robust plans for continuity of healthcare and, if necessary, evacuation in the face of a hurricane;
  • Reserve a certain percentage of emergency funds and resources being used for COVID-19 response for hurricane use, or appropriate more funds now; and
  • Encourage families to review and refresh emergency preparedness kits and plans.



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