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.
Oct 11, 2016

Emergency Response Update: Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew caused significant damage
Hurricane Matthew caused significant damage

International Medical Corps’ emergency response team is on the ground in southwestern Haiti, providing medical care and emergency relief in some of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew.

“We have heard reports of localized cholera outbreaks in communities along the coast, largely in areas that have yet to be reached with assistance,” says Sean Casey, International Medical Corps’ emergency response team leader on the ground. “Every hour counts. We urgently need access to cut-off areas so we can help stop these cholera outbreaks, or we could have a crisis that kills far more people than the storm itself.”

In Les Cayes, a seaport in the area of southwestern Haiti that bore the brunt of the storm, our teams assessed temporary shelters and found that many are overcrowded, with a number of children and adults reporting illness. Our team has found that many hurricane-affected communities lack access to safe drinking water, putting them at high-risk of disease outbreaks, while many health facilities are damaged with limited or no supplies.

Already Immaculate Conception Hospital in Les Cayes, Sud Department, has reported two patients with cholera, and at least three cases have been reported in Jérémie, Grand’Anse Department. There are additional unconfirmed reports of isolated outbreaks of cholera along the southern coast, which has the potential to spread as access between communities improves.

In support of the Government of Haiti’s response efforts, International Medical Corps is focusing on reaching hard-hit and remote areas with medical care, water, sanitation and hygiene support, and expanding cholera prevention and treatment efforts, including:

 

  • Deploying mobile medical units to provide health care, including working to mitigate the spread of cholera
  • Supporting local health facilities with medical personnel, medicines and medical supplies, clean water, debris removal, and additional assistance as needed
  • Ensuring communities have access to safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene supplies to prevent the spread of cholera and other diseases

In response to the needs resulting from Hurricane Matthew, we plan to continue and scale this work, and are grateful for the GlobalGiving community's support. 

Over 61,000 people are in evacuation shelters
Over 61,000 people are in evacuation shelters
We are addressing needs in southwestern Haiti
We are addressing needs in southwestern Haiti
Oct 7, 2016

International Medical Corps Emergency Response Teams on the Ground in Southern Haiti and Bahamas

Some 350,000 people are in need of assistance
Some 350,000 people are in need of assistance

With travel by road restricted by damage from Hurricane Matthew, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team arrived by helicopter in Les Cayes, a city in the area of southwestern Haiti that bore the brunt of the storm. The Category 4 storm made direct landfall with sustained winds of 145 mph on October 4, causing widespread destruction that has left some of the hardest hit communities unreachable.

“Heavy rainfall and flooding create fertile ground for disease outbreaks like cholera, which our teams have been treating in Haiti since 2010,” says Sean Casey, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team Leader in Haiti. “Ensuring people have access to clean water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene supplies will be essential in preventing the spread of illness. We will also be looking to support local health facilities and other immediate needs of affected communities.”

As responders continue to assess the full scale damage in Haiti, the United Nations estimates 350,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance following the storm, while a reported 21,000 people are staying in shelters and preliminary assessments found some 28,000 houses were damaged. The hurricane flattened villages, damaged local infrastructure and, with nearly 300 people killed by the storm, devastated families and communities. In response, additional emergency response experts, including a water, sanitation, and hygiene specialist, are en route to Haiti to join International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team in Les Cayes.

Our team in the Bahamas, which is made up of 700 islands and particularly vulnerable to tropical storms, as much of the country is low-lying and coastal, is preparing to travel to the hardest hit areas as soon as possible to determine the greatest needs and provide emergency assistance to survivors.

We thank you for your continued support as we assess and respond to the most urgent needs following the devastation from Hurricane Mathew. 

Damage in Les Cayes, Haiti
Damage in Les Cayes, Haiti
Flooding in Nassau, the Bahamas
Flooding in Nassau, the Bahamas
Oct 5, 2016

International Medical Corps Responds: Hurricane Matthew

Our Emergency Response team is en route to southern Haiti, where Hurricane Matthew made landfall at 7:00 AM local time on October 4. The primary concern continues to be flooding and mudslides. Reporting out of Haiti remains scattered, with outages, flooding, and road closures reported inconsistently and with little follow-up. The United Nations has released a population impact assessment suggesting about 214,000 people in Haiti live within areas impacted by winds of 75 mph, most of whom are in Ouest and Grande Anse.

Haiti is still facing heavy rain, particularly in the northwest region. Significant flooding due to rain and, in coastal areas, storm surges were evident across the south. The United Nations reported more than 340,000 people had evacuated to shelters early in the day, and damaged homes and shelters displaced thousands more. The airports in Port au Prince and Cap Haitien are closed, and power outages have been reported in the south. Major flooding and some landslides have been reported in Les Cayes. Communication systems, particularly in Grand Anse, and the south, are currently unreliable.

We anticipate there will be the need for access to clean water, and we are prioritizing the procurement and distribution of hygiene kits and other supplies; we are also monitoring levels of cholera, now endemic to the country. International Medical Corps has been on the ground in Haiti since 2010 responding to the earthquake and then fighting cholera—a disease that will be exacerbated by the heavy rains and flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew.

We’ve also deployed an emergency response team to the Bahamas, which is expecting up to 15 inches of rain as the storm makes a direct hit today, October 5. This will be the first direct strike to the main island, New Providence, since 1929. Comprised of thirty inhabited islands, the National Emergency Management Agency has advised residents of the Family Islands, those islands other than New Providence, to have supplies for at least three days. Authorities are also warning residents in low-lying areas and along the coast to evacuate to shelters, and operating flights to bring people to New Providence before the storm hits.

The eye of the storm is expected to cross over the eastern edge of Cuba. The United Nations Institute for Training and Research Operational Satellite Applications Programme’s impact assessment suggests about 357,000 people in Cuba live within areas which will be impacted by winds of 75 mph, most of whom live in easternmost Guantanamo Province. Rainfall is a significant concern in eastern Cuba with up to 15 inches expected in some areas and 8 to 12 inches projected for most of the country.

In the Dominican Republic, Hurricane Matthew damaged 200 homes and resulted in at least four deaths, according to the Dominican Republic’s Center for Emergency Operations. Some 20,000 people sought alternative shelter during the storm. While the country was on the outer edge of the storm, it faced tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain throughout the day. In Jamaica, the government offices have reopened and public transit is operating with limited service as the government has discontinued the tropical storm warning for the country.

We thank you for your continued support as we prepare to respond to the most urgent needs following devastation from Hurricane Matthew.  

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