International Medical Corps

International Medical Corps is a global humanitarian nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through healthcare training, disaster relief, and long-term development programs.
May 13, 2016

Physical Therapy and Sanitation Care for the Most Vulnerable

Ayako and Takano at Mifune Evacuation Center
Ayako and Takano at Mifune Evacuation Center

79-year-old Takano moved to one of the four evacuation centers in the town of Mifune just a few days ago, after she learned her house was too unsafe to live in without expensive repairs. Mifune is located not far from the epicenters of the twin earthquakes that hit Kumamoto prefecture in Japan on April 14 and April 16.

On May 10, Ayako, a member of International Medical Corps’ Japan Emergency Response Team, spoke with Takano at the center. Ayako and the International Medical Corps team visited Mifune Evacuation Center to assess needs and determine how to best provide support to those who are still unable to return home, like Takano. Our Emergency Response Team continues to identify the significant number of elderly people remaining in evacuation centers as a particularly at-risk group—reluctant to use water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities because they are deemed inadequate or difficult to access, particularly for those with limited mobility. Tabata, 86 years old, has been at the evacuation center ever since the earthquakes hit, unsure of when she can return home.

The day prior, on May 9, our teams visited the Aya Nosato Elderly Care Center in Kumamoto. The center reported seeing more elderly seek full-time care following the quakes that rocked the area. At the Aya Nosato Elderly Care Center, International Medical Corps' Japan Emergency Response Team provided 14 physical therapy consultations and helped bathe 22 elderly residents in need of special assistance. To improve hygiene, our teams also provided the center with 20 hygiene kits, including materials like soap, toothbrushes, towels, and more. Yuka, another International Medical Corps team member, helped facilitate group discussion and activities for the center’s residents, to promote well-being.

International Medical Corps’ Japan Emergency Response Team has now reached more than eight evacuation centers with relief assistance, reaching 120 individuals with physical and occupational therapy among other services. Our teams continue to work to ensure water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities as well as personal hygiene and relief supplies are accessible at evacuation and elderly care centers, as well as at the Nishihara internally displaced person camp in Kumamoto. At the camp and evacuation centers, the relief materials, including latrines and light, reached a population of approximately 3,400 men, women, and children.

Across Kumamoto Prefecture, official government statistics indicate more than 2,400 houses confirmed as destroyed, with another 20,000 houses damaged. In Kumamoto city, officials are struggling to meet the housing needs of people whose homes are unfit for habitation. With more than 1,170 recorded aftershocks and up to 19,000 people remaining in evacuation centers in Kumamoto as of May 4, we continue to support the Government of Japan following the earthquakes.

Thank you, to everyone at GlobalGiving for your continued support as we expand efforts and address the most pressing needs for the most vulnerable. With your help, we can reach individuals such as Takano and Tabata with relief and recovery services. 

Tabata has lived in the center since the quakes
Tabata has lived in the center since the quakes
Physical therapy consultation at the care center
Physical therapy consultation at the care center
Yuka facilitating group discussion and activities
Yuka facilitating group discussion and activities
Destroyed homes in a neighborhood in Mashiki
Destroyed homes in a neighborhood in Mashiki
May 9, 2016

Response to Japan Earthquakes

Destruction from the quakes in Japan
Destruction from the quakes in Japan

Seismic activity continues in Japan's southwestern region of Kyushu with more than 1,170 aftershocks recorded since the first major earthquake on April 14. A total of 1,037 aftershocks have been recorded in the hardest-hit prefectures of Kumamoto and Oita aloneIn Kumamoto city, officials still struggle to meet housing needs, and there are continued reports of evacuees in the hardest-hit areas sleeping and living in their cars.  As of May 4, some 19,000 people still remain in 380 evacuation centers; many others remain displaced, living with families and friends because their homes are uninhabitable. According to local reports, Kumamoto authorities intend to open 18 new evacuation shelters that are better equipped than existing facilities. These new centers will also facilitate the reopening of schools, many of which remain closed as they are serving as evacuation centers.

International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team continues to support the Government of Japan and local officials responding to the ongoing needs from this crisis, filling gaps and providing services to families and individuals. Our teams have found that elderly evacuees, especially those with limited mobility, are reluctant to use existing hygiene services because they feel they are inadequate or services are difficult to access.  In response to the unique needs of this population, International Medical Corps has begun to deliver specialized services for elderly evacuees and individuals with limited mobility, reaching the elderly in evacuation centers with occupational and physical therapy services as well as with sanitation and bathing needs.

With centers also lacking water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities, International Medical Corps is emphasizing hygiene services and hygiene and relief supply distribution at evacuation centers. Teams already provided latrines to evacuation centers, helping ensure additional sanitary facilities to benefit up to 3,300 evacuees. Additionally, the our teams distributed 706 hygiene kits to help individuals and families stay healthy while displaced. 

To support recovery efforts and provide care for those affected, International Medical Corps provided a two-day psychological first aid training for 15 local staff members who have regular contact with survivors, both in person and via phone counselling services. Psychological first aid training is a non-intrusive way of providing psychosocial support. It teaches doing no harm; normal reactions to stress and loss; listening in a supportive way; strengthening positive coping strategies; referrals to needed services; and staff self-care. 

Moving forward, International Medical Corps will continue to support the Japanese government in its response efforts and expand ongoing efforts; our team is now assessing the potential for additional mental health training and nutrition support, especially for elderly evacuees. In addition, we will be working with local partners to provide support, capacity and technical advice for recovery efforts.

Thank you and thank you to the GlobalGiving community for your support for survivors of the quakes in Japan.

From the quakes, 19,000 people remain in centers
From the quakes, 19,000 people remain in centers
May 9, 2016

Final Report and Update on Response to the Afghanistan/Pakistan Earthquake Project

Assessments in Badakhshan following the quake
Assessments in Badakhshan following the quake

As International Medical Corps’ emergency response to the October 2015 earthquake that affected both Afghanistan and Pakistan has ended, this update will be the final one for the Response to the Afghanistan/Pakistan Earthquake project. However, teams remain in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, reaching communities in need with services, including primary health, reproductive health, gender-based violence prevention and treatment, and more, to improve the quality of life and health status of local men, women, and children.

Thank you for supporting International Medical Corps and our GlobalGiving projects. To continue supporting International Medical Corps’ emergency efforts, please visit our “Emergency Earthquake Response in Ecuador” project, where International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team is providing relief and recovery assistance for survivors of the quake.

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-earthquake-response-in-ecuador/

 

International Medical Corps’ Response to the Afghanistan/Pakistan Earthquake

In Nawabad in Kunar Province of Afghanistan, Nazar Khan was driving when he felt the earthquake. He pulled over into an open area and remained inside the vehicle until the tremors stopped. When he got out of his car he noticed a partially collapsed house nearby. With the First Responder training he had received from International Medical Corps, Nazar knew he could help. He went to the local mosque and announced a call for help through the loudspeakers usually reserved for the call to prayer. Villagers and other International Medical Corps-trained volunteers responded and were able to rescue an entire family that was trapped in a damaged home.

Since 2011, we have been implementing an Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance-funded Emergency Preparedness and Response program in Eastern Afghanistan, building local response capacity in at-risk communities. We’ve trained more than 19,000 male and female community volunteers to provide first aid, search and rescue operations, and conduct damage and loss assessments. The program’s holistic approach allows trained community members to efficiently and effectively reach the most affected groups of people in a community during the disaster. After the October 2015 earthquake, Nazar along with other volunteers, utilized their training to quickly mobilize help for those most in need. Volunteers not only collected earthquake-related casualty data to inform timely and effective national response, but responded immediately to the destruction—reaching people in need with first aid and pre-positioned relief supplies.

The powerful 7.5-magnitude quake that struck on October 26, 2015, affected both eastern regions of Afghanistan and northern areas of Pakistan. With nearly 400 deaths, 2,244 injuries, and more than 120,000 homes damaged or destroyed, International Medical Corps mobilized within 48 hours, deploying medical teams to the hardest-hit areas to meet emergency needs and surging support for the trained volunteers in Afghanistan. In addition to deploying 8 mobile medical units in Afghanistan and 2 mobile teams in Pakistan, International Medical Corps scaled support at static health facilities, providing more than 28,000 medical consultations as well as 395 antenatal and 151 postnatal care consultations for survivors of the quake and those seeking assistance.

With the onset of harsh winter weather conditions, including heavy rainfall and below freezing temperatures, the earthquake exacerbated needs for relief supplies, particularly for those who lost their homes. International Medical Corps responded to these needs and reached more than 9,000 displaced people with thermal blankets, warm clothing, bedding, or hygiene materials, such as washing soap, toothbrushes, towels, and more, to ease the suffering of earthquake-affected families.

Following the devastation from the quake, many people also experienced increased stress, depression, and insecurity due to the loss of their homes and livelihoods. In response, staff provided individual and group counseling for those experiencing challenges as a result of trauma from the earthquake. For one 16-year old girl, the quake had frightened her so much that she refused to go to back to her bedroom. We provided her with individual counseling, and, after six weeks, she was ready to enter her room again. Family members thanked International Medical Corps for the unique and much-needed support. Teams went on to provide more than 2,300 people with individual counseling sessions and reached more than 3,580 with group sessions.

International Medical Corps not only responded to the destruction from the October 2015 earthquake, but trained local community volunteers, like Nazar, so they could be ready and prepared for it. With the timely and generous support from the GlobalGiving community and other donors, International Medical Corps worked with the ministries of health to provide health care and mental health services, and to distribute urgently needed relief supplies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We are extremely thankful for your support, which helps make these lifesaving interventions possible.

Damages in Shegal District of Pakistan
Damages in Shegal District of Pakistan
Response services for those in need in Pakistan
Response services for those in need in Pakistan
Teams deliver supplies to villages in Afghanistan
Teams deliver supplies to villages in Afghanistan
 
   

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