A plane loaded with more than 3 tons of medicine and medical supplies from Americares prepares for takeoff from Opa Locka, Fla., on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Photo by William Vazquez/Americares.
Stamford, Conn. – Sept. 18, 2017 – Americares today airlifted $1.8 million in critical medicines and medical supplies for Hurricane Irma survivors throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. The chartered plane arrived in St. Thomas around 1 p.m. local time, carrying more than 3 tons of urgently needed medicines including antibiotics and medical supplies to treat patients with disaster-related injuries and illnesses and chronic disease medicine to replace medications lost in the storm.
“With Hurricane Maria now a Category 3 storm following a similar path as Hurricane Irma, it was all the more urgent to rush this emergency shipment,” said Americares Vice President of Emergency Response Garrett Ingoglia. “We moved this shipment up a day to ensure health facilities were stocked ahead of the storm.”
The airlift—the second major Americares shipment for Irma survivors in under a week—will be used to treat patients on the hard-hit islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. The shipment was coordinated in partnership with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health.
Americares deployed emergency response teams to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida to respond to Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded. The storm battered the Caribbean and South Florida with destructive force, killing more than 65 people, destroying homes and businesses and leaving millions without power.
In the United States, where Irma killed at least 26 people, flooded communities and knocked out power for millions, Americares is providing medicine and supplies and working to restore health services in affected communities as families return to their homes. To date, Americares has provided support to 10 health care facilities in South and Central Florida, including the Keys.
Americares has professional relief workers ready to respond to disasters 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.