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Two months after the devastating earthquake rocked Haiti, families still mourn 230,000 victims of the disaster. Tent cities have swelled to 1.3 million homeless men, women and children – others have fled quake-damaged cities altogether. Over 300,000 people were injured during disaster; many lost limbs, others sustained serious injuries from which they will never recover. Medicines and supplies were ruined in the disaster; what remained was quickly depleted by throngs of earthquake survivors. In response, AmeriCares has delivered nearly $20 million in lifesaving medical aid and humanitarian relief since the earthquake.
As Haiti’s rainy season nears, conditions will become worse. Contaminated water and exposure to the elements puts families at risk of serious diseases such as malaria and dysentery. Dr. Frank J. Bia, Medical Director of AmeriCares and an expert in infectious diseases and tropical medicine recently returned from Haiti where he worked with AmeriCares relief team on plans to help vulnerable people living in tent cities survive the rainy season.
“The rainy season is fast approaching and the need for medical aid to help fight related diseases is critical,” reports Dr. Bia. “Due to cramped conditions, contaminated water and limited hygiene resources, some diseases can spread like wild fire once a few people get sick.”
In response, AmeriCares is continuing to deliver bottled water and water purification supplies and is working with local partners on disease prevention programs. AmeriCares will also continue to deliver antibiotics, oral rehydration salts (ORS), fever-reducing medicines, IV-kits and IV-solutions critical for treating related illnesses and preventing dehydration.
AmeriCares has committed a total of $50 million in medical aid and health care support to help Haiti recover from this disaster. The earthquake destroyed an already fragile health care system. In addition to delivering medical assistance, AmeriCares will provide resources to help rebuild the country’s health care infrastructure and replace damaged equipment. AmeriCares long-term commitment to Haiti builds on its expertise in post-emergency response and helping to rebuild communities impacted by natural disasters, including the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“AmeriCares knows from experience the need will not diminish in the months and years ahead,” said Curt Welling, President and CEO of AmeriCares. “That’s why AmeriCares will be there for the long term, delivering relief supplies and helping rebuild Haiti’s health care system.”
AmeriCares has been working in Haiti since 1984, delivering medicines and supplies to health care providers throughout the country. Those deep roots have enabled our emergency response team to navigate the challenging environment and overcome transportation issues in order to increase access to medicines for the Haitian people in both rural and urban areas.
To date, our medical assistance has reached over 40 hospitals and medical facilities treating the injured, and supplied over 60 volunteer medical teams traveling to Haiti.