Historic Storm Strikes Florida Panhandle
Hurricane Michael made landfall October 10, 2018, near Mexico Beach, Florida, as a life-threatening Category 5 storm, with peak winds of 155 mph, heavy rains and a devastating 14-foot storm surge. The catastrophic storm left a path of near total destruction in Florida, including 47 fatalities and extensive damage to infrastructure including homes businesses and essential communications. The hurricane moved to Georgia as a Category 3 storm, causing more fatalities, power outages, flooded roads and destruction of crops. Michael now ranks as one of the four most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the United States and caused more than $25 billion in damage.
The hurricane left many survivors vulnerable, without access to critical health care. Americares deployed staff in advance of the storm, then provided essential medicine and relief supplies to shelters and clinics and, for clinics, support to keep doors open and make needed repairs.
Americares emergency response team assessed damage at shelters and clinics, working closely with staff to meet immediate needs. Americares has delivered 61 shipments of medicines, medical supplies, hygiene supplies and other relief items to local health facilities, shelters and partner organizations active in relief efforts.
To ensure access to care for Hurricane Michael survivors, Americares also opened a temporary medical clinic in Panama City, Florida. The clinic was staffed by more than 30 volunteer doctors and nurses and provided free primary care services for children and adultsseven days a week. More than 800 patients received medical services, including vaccines, care for diabetes and hypertension, medication refills, wound care and mental health/psychosocial support. Photo by William Vazquez
“This means the world to us!”
Health Care for Survivors
After Chris waded through floodwaters to help his neighbors evacuate their home, he was able to get a tetanus vaccine at no cost at Americares temporary clinic in Panama City. Chris brought his young son for care also.
“You can’t receive any other health care services because the kids’ doctors’ offices aren’t open,” Chris says.
Challenge of Recovery
Americares response included:
- 21 emergency responders deployed
- 268 total days of staff in field (combined)
- 47,000 prescriptions
- 204,000 medical and relief supplies
- 61 emergency shipments
- 18 health organizations supported, including clinics and shelters
- 46 days open
- 34 volunteer staff
- 1,092 staff hours (combined)
- 869 patients helpe
$4.2 million total aid
Helping our Clinic Partners
“We all need to work together to get through this, and we will get through this, we will rebuild.”
--Vivian Mohamed, clinic manager, Avicenna Clinic, Panama City
Hurricane Michael tore the roof off Avicenna Clinic in Panama City, exposing valuable medical equipment to rain and wind. The building was condemned. With a doctor and nurse, clinic manager Vivian Mohamed began driving to patients’ homes to provide care. Americares is now supporting a temporary clinic location until repairs are complete.
Getting health care to Hurricane Michael Survivors in Florida.
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.