- Active Emergency
- October 10, 2018 -Present
- Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Carolinas
Historic Storm Strikes the Florida Panhandle
Americares is responding to Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in the area's history. Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida as a life-threatening Category 4 storm, delivering a catastrophic impact with peak winds of 155 mph, dangerous rains and deadly storm surge. The storm slammed into the Florida Panhandle mid-day October 10, leaving a path of near total devastation, at least 17 fatalities with dozens of people still missing and extensive damage to infrastructure including health facilities. It made its way into Georgia as a Category 3 storm and then on to the Carolinas and Virginia, still reeling from the floods of Hurricane Florence. It has left hundreds of thousands of residents without power and much of the coast of the Panhandle is in ruins, with some communities completely destroyed. The ferocity of the storm has blasted the landscape, made many people homeless and destroyed or cut off even basic services. Michael now ranks as one of the four most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the United States. Photo by Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
As residents of the Panhandle confront the scale of the destruction, our emergency team has visited shelters and met with partners to conduct assessments and distribute locally-procured hygiene items - protecting health and providing comfort to those waiting to hear when they can return.
The storm left hospitals and nursing homes closed, forcing patient evacuations and leaving survivors without access to healthcare services. With no landlines or cell phone access, medical staff were forced to use emergency radios, where available, to stay in contact with first responders. The team has reported that access remains difficult - many roads are blocked with debris and communications remain challenging. With reports coming in about damaged health facilities along the Florida coast, the team is working to visit health center partners directly to assess the full extent of the damage and respond to immediate needs. In addition, many more local health centers in the Carolinas again faced heavy rain and flash flooding as Michael tracked a brutally similar path as Florence. The need for help is immense.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Americares has professional relief workers ready to respond to disasters at a moment’s notice 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 has a long history of responding to emergencies in the U.S., including hurricanes Sandy, Harvey, Irma, Maria and Florence along with the 2018 California wildfires.
Americares responds to an average of 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establishes long-term recovery projects and brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities.
Should Americares raise funds in excess of what's needed to respond to this particular crisis, the funds will be redirected to where the need is greatest.