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

International Medical Corps' Efforts Continue Post-Quake

Emergency response team in Pedernales
Emergency response team in Pedernales

“We arrived in Jama next. Jama has mostly two- and three-story mixed construction of cement and wood. Nearly every building had gross evidence of damage or was collapsed… We continued on to Pedernales around 1 PM… There are many families camping right on the edge of the road.”  Dr. Rob Fuller, doctor and long-time first responder, wrote these words on April 22 after traveling through Manabí Province.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck off the western coast of Ecuador destroyed approximately 7,000 buildings, the majority in Manabí. Although robust response and recovery efforts are ongoing, assistance to people in more remote communities is reportedly moving more slowly. From Jama to Pedernales in Manabí, families are establishing spontaneous settlements, and the numbers of displaced persons in camps has slightly increased in the past week.

Many of these displaced people came from rural villages with limited access to services, particularly in water and sanitation. Government and humanitarian assessments of the earthquake’s impact indicate that an estimated 720,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance across the six affected provinces for which the Government of Ecuador declared a state of emergency.

Today, International Medical Corps’ emergency response team is on the ground in Manabí Province—one of the most affected provinces—to support relief efforts led by the Ecuadorian government. In response to the needs our emergency response team identified at official displacement sites and surrounding areas in Pedernales, we are coordinating with Ecuador’s Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion, the Ecuadorian military, the UN Children’s Fund, and local communities to deliver water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance at both official camps and spontaneous settlements. We are planning to build accessible and private bathing facilities and provide handwashing stations at 20 to 30 displacement sites around Pedernales.

International Medical Corps—with the support of local volunteers—has distributed 250 family hygiene kits to the four official camps in Pedernales, assisting a total of 1,250 people. The kits contain bath soap, laundry soap, buckets, towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary pads, toilet paper, and razors, to support sanitation and hygiene. We aim to distribute hygiene kits to another 1,000 earthquake-affected families across Pedernales and Jama.

To assist small vendors who sell fresh produce in camps and the spontaneous settlements, the emergency response team will provide tailored hygiene kits that include materials for washing food with safe water in order to help limit the spread of disease. In order to maximize the impact of these efforts, International Medical Corps will coordinate with the Ministry of Public Health to provide hygiene promotion campaigns that improve awareness of good hygiene and sanitation practices.

We at International Medical Corps thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your continued support as we coordinate with the Ecuadorian government, local authorities, community leaders, and other humanitarian actors to address needs assessed by our emergency response team and first responders, like Dr. Rob Fuller, and experienced by the men, women, and children affected by the quake in Ecuador.

Provision of hygiene kits for affected families
Provision of hygiene kits for affected families
Working with local volunteers to assess needs
Working with local volunteers to assess needs
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
 
   

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