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Americares Responds to California Wildfires

  • November 14, 2018
  • REUTERS/Gene Blevins

Stamford, Conn. – Nov. 14, 2018 – Americares is deploying a response team and preparing emergency shipments of medicine and relief supplies to help families displaced by the deadly wildfires raging through California.

The health-focused relief and development organization is readying medicine, N95 respirator masks, hygiene kits, first aid supplies, vaccines and other critically needed items to send to partner clinics in close proximity to the fires. Americares has offered assistance to more than two dozen partner health facilities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and surrounding areas and is continuing outreach efforts. An emergency response team leaves today for Butte County in Northern California to assess the health needs at emergency shelters and health facilities treating survivors.

“Thousands of California residents are in need of assistance, including many who don’t have homes to return to,” said Americares Director of Emergency Response Brian Scheel. “We have an emergency team on the way and supplies ready to ship. We are making sure survivors’ most urgent health needs are met.”

More than 300,000 people have been evacuated in parts of Southern and Northern California and over 7,600 homes have been destroyed since the fires began late last week. The Camp Fire in Butte County, the deadliest in state history, has claimed 48 lives and scorched 130,000 acres, forcing thousands of residents to flee as homes and businesses burn to the ground. The death toll is expected to rise as scores of people remain unaccounted for in Paradise and other affected communities. The Woolsey Fire outside Los Angeles, which started Thursday and doubled in size overnight, has killed two people and burned nearly 100,000 acres. In Ventura County, residents are battling the Hill Fire which has engulfed more than 4,500 acres and destroyed two structures.

Americares is working with partner clinics, including free clinics and community health centers, as well as national and regional response partners, to meet the health needs in affected areas. 

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. The organization has a long history of responding to emergencies in the U.S., including Hurricanes Sandy, Harvey, Irma and Maria, the 2017 California wildfires and most recently the Carr Fire.