In the early response to Cyclone Pam, AmeriCares emergency team worked in Vanuatu with NYC Medics, providing their volunteer medical teams with medicine and supplies as well as logistics and communications support as they brought emergency medical care to survivors of one of the worst disasters in the history of this archipelago nation of 80 islands in the South Pacific.
The joint NYC Medics/AmeriCares effort delivered medical care to the more remote islands that were particularly hard hit. Medical teams reached the heavily damaged Shepherd Islands and Tanna Island, treating a variety of ailments such as infected wounds, respiratory infections, malnutrition, stress injuries and cases of suspected tuberculosis along with providing measles vaccinations and Vitamin A for children.
The NYC Medics mobile teams have treated more than 1500 patients and provided vaccinations and other treatment for over 400 children. In addition, the emergency response team evaluated the damage to health facilities in preparation for recovery efforts that focus on restoring health services.
The storm affected an estimated 180,000 of the nation’s 270,000 people while severely damaging infrastructure, including a large number of health facilities, as well as crippling communication. In the capital city of Port Villa and in many other communities up to 90% of the buildings suffered damage. Tropical Cyclone Pam was the strongest storm to make landfall since Super Typhoon Haiyan, which tore through the Philippines in November 2013.
“While communications and access were a challenge, particularly in the more remote islands, our team organized our response and recovery efforts and supported the NYC Medics response,” said AmeriCares Vice President of Emergency Response Garrett Ingoglia. “We will continue to help meet medical needs as we assess the longer-term health care challenges of the people of Vanuatu.”
AmeriCares stocks emergency medicine and relief supplies in its warehouses in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in times of crisis, and launches comprehensive recovery programs that restore health services for disaster survivors. We have been aiding survivors of natural disasters, political conflict and extreme poverty around the world for more than 30 years.