Dealing With Natural Disasters

Ad Council Launches 2 Efforts to Help in Pakistan and at Home

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To help people deal with natural disasters and emergencies, the Ad Council this week introduced two series of public service announcements.

In one series, the council joined with the Department of State to urge people to give to the department's Pakistan Relief Fund. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urges donations through TV and radio PSAs. The effort, which includes web banners, asks people to visit www.state.gov to donate or to text message the word "FLOOD" to 27722, which will result in a charge of $10 to their cell phone bills in addition to standard text messaging and data charges.

The campaign was produced through donated production and digital distribution services from several companies, while Getty Images donated the images of the floods used in the TV and web pieces.

According to the Ad Council, the number of people affected by flooding in Pakistan has exceeded the combined total of those affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. More than 1.2 million homes have been damaged or destroyed, while about 800,000 people can only be reached by helicopter to get food, water and other relief supplies. A donation of $10 can provide water purification for 100 liters of clean drinking water, while $40 can supply material to shelter a family of four.

The second PSA campaign involves natural disasters closer to home by encouraging Americans to be prepared. The effort was produced by the Ad Council with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Ready Campaign and the Weather Channel in time for this month's National Preparedness Month.

In its first PSA effort with the Ad Council, the Weather Channel produced the TV spots, which feature the channel's on-camera meteorologist Jim Cantore and a family who lost their home in a natural disaster. Cantore urges viewers to adopt the Ready Campaign's three steps to be prepare for emergencies: Get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan and know what kinds of emergencies can happen in your area and how to respond.

The PSAs direct viewers to www.ready.gov and www.weather.com/ready for preparedness information and resources.

"Partnering with FEMA and the Ad Council on this issue is a perfect fit for the Weather Channel Cos., as it allows us to continue to spread the message on preparation for severe weather that we have been sharing for more than 25 years," said Mike Kelly, president-CEO president, TWCC, in a statement.

According to an August 2009 national Ad Council survey, 91% of Americans agree that these steps could help, but only 58% have done anything to prepare, with 52% saying they don't believe they are likely to be personally affected by an emergency.

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