Stamford, Conn. – Oct. 4, 2016 – Americares is preparing to deploy an emergency response team from its U.S. headquarters to assist the Hurricane Matthew relief efforts in Haiti. The category 4 storm slammed into Haiti’s southern coast earlier today, downing trees, flooding roads and tearing roofs off homes and businesses. Another Americares emergency response team is already at work in Haiti, coordinating aid shipments with partner organizations throughout the country providing health services to survivors.
The slow-moving storm, which has killed at least seven people, also poses a dangerous threat to Cuba and the Bahamas. Americares is prepared to expand its response to additional countries, including the southern U.S., if needed. Americares began readying relief supplies in its Connecticut distribution center on Monday in response to requests for medicine, first aid kits, wound care supplies and other necessities.
“The full extent of the damage is still unknown, but based on initial reports there will be significant humanitarian needs. We are particularly concerned about the potential for a spike in cholera cases in the aftermath of the storm,” said Americares Vice President of Emergency Response Garrett Ingoglia, who is headed to Haiti. “We are readying a shipment of basic medicine and relief supplies, including fluids to treat cholera.”
The second emergency response team is expected to be on the ground as early as Wednesday. 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 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.
Americares has been supporting health care in Haiti since 1984. Over the years, Americares has responded to dozens of emergencies in the island nation including Hurricane Ivan, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the ensuing cholera epidemic. In the aftermath of the earthquake, Americares provided $97 million in aid to improve the health of survivors, including enough medicine to fill 3.8 million prescriptions. In all, Americares reached 160 hospitals, clinics and community health programs with donated medicine, relief supplies and project support, including technical support.