Caribbean, U.S.

Hurricane Irma

  • September 21, 2017
Help survivors of Irma and Harvey

Americares has emergency response teams in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded. The storm battered the Caribbean and southern Florida with destructive force, killing more than 65 people, destroying homes and businesses and leaving millions without power. In the midst of significant logistical challenges, Americares emergency teams in the Caribbean and Central and South Florida are coordinating shipments of critical medicine and supplies for survivors while meeting with response and health partners to continue needs assessment.


“We anticipate the needs in Florida will be similar to those in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We will help address urgent health and medical needs, provide medicine and supplies for displaced families and help restore health services.” 

Americares Vice President of Emergency Response Garrett Ingoglia

Confronting Irma

In Florida, Americares is working to restore health services in storm-damaged communities across the state. Americares is delivering medicine and supplies to replace any damaged by floodwaters and to meet an increased demand as people return to their homes. Clinics in the Florida Keys, Homestead, Miami, Melbourne, Oakland Park and Orlando are receiving assistance; Americares is also assisting a shelter for homeless youth in Fort Lauderdale. Americares has already provided over $1.5 million in medicines and supplies to 20 partners. 

Before Hurricane Irma made landfall, Americares pre-positioned medicine in central Florida, contacted 80 partner health centers to offer help, and positioned a team in Orlando so they could quickly travel to the most heavily impacted areas once the storm had passed. An Americares Emergency Response Team has been working in the Florida Keys, assessing the status of partner health centers and hospitals and providing assistance.

In the Caribbean, our emergency response teams are coordinating shipments of critical medicine and supplies to local health organizations in islands that have been devastated by the storms. Americares emergency shipments have reached hospitals in St. Thomas and St. Martin, two hard-hit islands. More than $2M of medicine and supplies has already been flown in with more shipments planned.  To date, Americares has delivered more than $4 million in medicine and supplies in Florida, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and St. Martin.

Response teams loading urgently needed emergency med shipments for Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma.
Lindsay O'Brien, Senior Director, U.S. Programs works with the response team getting much needed supplies to our safety net clinic partners.
Tom Cotter hand delivering meds to Dona Rosado at Key West Health & Rehab. Keeping the local health centers open and supplied is a critical part of our emergency response.
Kate and the team load a shipment of medicine headed for St. Thomas Photo: William Vazquez
Kate D., Director, Emergency Programs on the Opa Locka Airport tarmac, Florida as the emergency air shipment of medicine prepares to leave for St. Thomas. Photo: William Vazquez

Always Ready to Respond

Americares has professional relief workers ready to respond to disasters rapidly and stocks emergency medicine and supplies in its warehouses in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in times of crisis. The organization responds to an average of 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year and establishes long-term recovery projects. 

Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, has brought its devastating power to the islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe and has hit Puerto Rico with full force. Maria also hit the U.S. Virgin Islands and poses a serious danger to other Caribbean islands. Our response teams are heading for Dominica and Puerto Rico, even as they continue responding to the emergency needs of survivors of Hurricane Irma. With recent shipments to the Virgin Islands, the response to Maria is underway. Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose continues an uncertain path along the U.S. East Coast and will have an effect on Maria's tracking as it approaches mainland U.S.