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Hurricane Idalia

Active Emergency
August 30, 2023
Florida, Georgia
Americares team member in blue shirt stands beside person in white shirt surveying a destroyed building with one way sign still standing in wreckage.

Hurricane Idalia

Hurricane Idalia, a Category 3 storm, made landfall around 7:45 a.m. ET August 30 along Florida’s Big Bend, near Keaton Beach with life-threatening winds of 125 mph and a dangerous storm surge. Though the Big Bend area is sparsely populated, the hurricane’s effects extended across much of northern Florida. More than a dozen coastal communities were under evacuation orders, including some hit by Hurricane Ian just 11 months ago. The storm moved into Georgia and the Carolinas with dangerous winds, rain and tornadoes. President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide support and federal funding for the recovery. Many thousands have been without power and significant flooding and wind damage is reported.

Between Florida and Georgia, damage estimates are continuing but are anticipated to fall between $12 and $20 billion in total damage. Though the damage has been less than originally feared, the storm has devastated coastal communities and will take years to recover. Many of the hardest hit communities were already suffering from limited to no medical access within the county with most medical care being provided out of Gainesville (often a multi-hour drive for patients) which had limited impacts from the hurricane.

Prior to Idalia making landfall and recognizing the potential magnitude of disruption to healthcare services, our Emergency Team proactively contacted nearly 450 partner clinics in the affected states to offer support before the team arrived in Florida. Americares is prepared to send hygiene kits, first aid supplies and other critically needed medicines and relief supplies to help meet the health needs of storm survivors, as well as emergency funding to help restore health services in affected communities. 

For the latest update on our response to Hurricane Idalia, click on the large arrow above or the video image below.

Updated on 9.5.23

Our Response

Our team on the ground in Florida has been assessing towns to identify the hardest hit areas and potential partners. We know from previous responses that it is often communities with limited resources and early in the path of a storm that are the most vulnerable to disasters like Hurricane Idalia. Many clinics are closed as they used the holiday weekend to allow their staff to work on their homes and anticipate reopening on Tuesday if they are able. Power is still out in most of the affected coastal counties with thousands of households reported as having no power. Actual restoration estimates in these communities have not been reported at this time. The team has visited Cedar Key, Steinhatchee, Chiefland, Live Oak, and High Springs. They have met with personnel at the Dixie County Emergency Operations Center, the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, Palms Medical Group, and visited a Red Cross Shelter in Live Oak.

Interior of home damaged by Hurricane Idalia. Ruined, folded mattress lies on wet floor in front of window and surrounded by ruined walls with studs exposed behind sheet rock.
Hurricane Idalia caused widespread flooding along the Florida Gulf Coast, damaging thousands of buildings in multiple counties, including Cedar Key, FL (Photo/Mike Demas).

The team continues assessing damaged areas and identifying clinics for follow-up as they begin to reopen and discover the damages and their needs. The loss of power and water damage are often the primary concern for clinics in the wake of a major storm as they work to serve their patients after the disaster.

Our History

Americares has been responding to emergencies worldwide for over 40 years and has a long history of responding to storms in Florida and the Gulf Coast. The organization has been on the frontlines of recovery efforts following major hurricanes in the region in recent years, including Hurricanes Ian, Irma, Dorian and Michael