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Hurricane Sandy

Restoring Health Care in the Rockaways

  • February 14, 2013
  • North America, Hurricane, Emergency Response Blog, Hurricane Sandy
Kate Dischino

Kate Dischino

Kate Dischino oversees Americares preparedness, response and recovery programs in the U.S. and around the world. 

After Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, AmeriCares relief teams were in the field assessing the needs of clinics and aid distribution centers helping survivors in hard-hit communities. Below, our emergency response manager,  Kate Dischino offers a glimpse of our aid to the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center. The clinic —  the largest health care provider in Rockaway, Queens — was severely damaged by flooding. To date, AmeriCares has supported the clinic with aid and funding aimed at restoring health services, with a total value of more than $250,000.

Within a day of the hurricane, we learned that a 15-foot storm surge had flooded the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center in the Rockaways. To provide continuing care for Addabbo’s mostly low-income patients, our fully equipped 40-foot mobile medical unit parked outside the clinic over several weeks, giving its doctors needed space to examine and treat patients. We also donated tetanus and flu vaccines. Local residents told us they were relieved just by the sight of our mobile clinic!  We also funded a generator to power the Addabbo Health Center in the event of future storms.

Our funding covered a month of free health care and transportation to the clinic for an estimated 1,600 uninsured residents, many of whom were stranded by the disruption of bus and subway service.

 Worried that many local residents were still without health care, we held a free community health fair at the Addabbo clinic on January 9. Because flu was a growing risk, especially among survivors living with friends or relatives or in homes without heat, we donated 1,000 doses of flu vaccine. At the fair, people received flu shots, had their blood pressure and glucose levels measured, and received dental screening. Several residents remarked that they hadn’t seen a doctor since Sandy struck!

 It’s good to know that we are providing a wide range of aid to this important community health center, an investment that will help people for years to come.