8 September 2017

SOS Families evacuate Florida village as Hurricane Irma approaches

Families at SOS Children’s Villages Coconut Creek in Florida evacuated on Friday as Hurricane Irma, a catastrophic Category 4 storm, heads toward Florida. The storm, packing sustained winds of 155 mph, is expected to hit the United States coast by Saturday.

Donations to support children and families impacted by Hurricane Irma can be made here.

Coconut Creek, Florida, September 8, 2017— SOS Children’s Villages Florida, an organization that provides loving, stable families for vulnerable children, has evacuated 60 children from its village in Coconut Creek, Florida. 

“As of now we are expecting to be in storm conditions as of Saturday through Monday,” said Jillian Smath, Executive Director of SOS Children’s Villages Florida. “We are as prepared as we can be and the families safety is our top concern and the main reason why I have them going into shelter.”

As soon as it is safe, Smath said she and her team would assess if there is any damage to the neighborhood in hopes that families can return to their homes from the local shelters where they are staying. “A lot of things will depend on if there is power and water and what damage we have,” she said. We can determine the need for support once we know what we are facing.”

Forecasts predict Hurricane Irma will bring 8-12 inches of rain which could lead to flash flooding. The storm has already caused extensive damage in parts of the Caribbean. Fortunately, Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, avoided a direct hit by the hurricane. Children and families may still be at risk due to the country’s lack of access to clean water and health care, as well as strong infrastructures. SOS Children’s Villages Haiti is assessing the situation, and plans to support impacted families by providing clean water, food and other necessities.

We will provide updates as we receive them.

If interested in an interview with Jillian Smath, Executive Director of SOS Children’s Villages Florida, please reach out to Stephanie Rendon at srendon@sos-usa.org or 786.222.0406.

SOS Children’s Villages builds families for orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children in 135 countries, including the United States. Worldwide, SOS reaches more than one million children and families through its family care and support programs, schools, medical centers and emergency response programs.

SOS has a strong, community-led track record for emergency response programs, having managed more than 140 programs in 60 countries since 1988. To learn more visit