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 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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Oct 4, 2016

Update on Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful Caribbean tropical storm in nearly a decade, made landfall in Haiti the morning of October 4 with catastrophic force, making life-threatening flash floods and mudslides likely, and causing storm surges of up to 10 feet. Still a very dangerous Category 4 storm, it is now headed towards the Bahamas. This devastating storm will likely leave thousands in need of assistance, including access to clean water and proper sanitation to help prevent the outbreak of disease.

Our team in Haiti stands ready to respond, with more emergency experts being mobilized. Additional emergency response staff are now en route to the Bahamas so they can immediately assess and respond to the most urgent needs after the storm passes there. We know the needs in the aftermath of this storm will be significant. Many survivors will lose everything and will need basic necessities like clean water, food and medical care, and with flooding anticipated, the extent of damage to the health infrastructure could be significant.

In Haiti, our teams have been fighting a cholera outbreak that began after the 2010 earthquake, and could severely worsen due to heavy rains and flooding. If the proper sanitation and hygiene services are not put in place right away, a large-scale outbreak of disease could take more lives than the storm.

Thank you, and thank you to the GlobalGiving community, for your support as we prepare to provide emergency assistance and help communities recover and rebuild. We will continue to keep you updated on the impact of Hurricane Matthew.

 
   

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