After a Storm, “There is Help”

  • October 23, 2018
  • Emergency Programs, Newsroom

Getting Health Care to Hurricane Michael Survivors

Days after Hurricane Michael tore through Florida, Lauren needed insulin. “I’m completely dependent on it,” she says. But Lauren lost her supply when the storm took out power; some got too hot, the rest froze by accident in a cooler. Laurens’ regular Walmart pharmacy was closed due to storm damage and her insurance wouldn’t transfer. “There’s a mix-up so I couldn’t get it filled at another Walmart. It was going to cost me $630,” she says.  

A friend saw a mobile clinic managed by PenCare, a health center supported by Americares in the aftermath of the storm, and tagged Lauren on Facebook. “Having it here made the whole situation less stressful,” says the young mom. The mobile clinic was in the Panama City area. Lauren’s home is in Fountain. “It’s awful,” she says. “Fountain got impacted a lot.”

“Without insulin, I wouldn’t be making it on the day to day. I’m completely dependent on it… so having it here made the whole situation a lot less stressful.”


Lauren and her son at the mobile clinic in Panama City

Lauren and her son at the mobile clinic in the Panama City area, Florida

“With businesses and doctors’ offices closed, there is a tremendous need to replace medication lost in the storm,” says Tom Cotter, Americares emergency response team leader in Florida. Cotter headed up an Americares emergency response team that deployed to Florida as Hurricane Michael was approaching. As soon as it was safe to travel, the team began delivering medicine and relief supplies to shelters and health care facilities throughout the Panhandle. In just the first two weeks after the storm, Americares provided nearly $1 million in medicine and relief supplies for Hurricane Michael survivors, including insulin, antibiotics, tetanus vaccine and medications for patients with diabetes and hypertension.

“I think it’s important for people to know that this is here,” says Lauren. “There is help out there.”