Our teams have reached out to local partners and are responding in Haiti to provide immediate emergency support. Read Full Story.
Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanoes…
Earthquakes and other catastrophic events can strike suddenly on a massive scale over a wide area with a death toll in the tens of thousands. While the tsunami threat after an earthquake (Indonesia 2018Japan 2011, Southeast Asia 2004) does allow a brief time to post a warning, often it is too little to save lives. In the case of earthquakes and volcanoes, the series of aftershocks or continued volcanic activity poses an ongoing threat in the midst of the chaos after the initial event. Learn more about our earthquake response in Puerto Rico.
Sometimes the event starts a cascade of catastrophe as in the Japan Earthquake of 2011 that added a monstrous tsunami and then a nuclear disaster with reactor damage and radioactive contamination of air, soil and water. Volcanic eruptions can bury entire communities or inundate whole areas with lava flows and fill the air with deadly toxic gases or ash. The readiness challenges for effective disaster response and recovery after a catastrophic event are formidable. In 2020 we responded to the eruption of the Taal Volcano in Talisay, Philippines. See the latest earthquake activity via the USGS map.
Threats During Catastrophic Events
From the experience of Americares Emergency Response Team and our health partners, what are some of the specifics of local readiness and response for catastrophic events?
Major structural damage to or complete destruction of health facilities (e.g. Nepal Earthquake) including the surrounding infrastructure.
Temporary structures to provide immediate care for the injured, followed by rebuilding stronger, using materials, structural techniques and location based on best practices to better withstand future seismic events.
Cascading connected disasters (e.g. Japan Earthquake, Tsunami, Nuclear Disaster) destroying much of a community or rendering it uninhabitable.
Identifying and serving the specific health needs of the most vulnerable and least mobile (i.e. the elderly, small children, expectant mothers, people with disabilities)
Loss of access to health care for those injured in disaster or with ongoing care needs due to infrastructure damage that cuts off remote locations and limits services.
Support Emergency Medical Teams equipped to handle or refer impact or crush injuries and provide primary care for those with ongoing treatment needs (e.g. chronic disease).
Relocation to temporary camps or housing.
Family emergency kits, water purification, emergency medical care, medicine and supplies for those who lost their homes and who had to flee quickly without their personal belongings or medications.
Mental trauma from severe injury or surrounding loss of life and home from initial seismic disaster, subsequent events or aftershocks.
Emergency programs at Americares represent a continuous cycle of Ready, Respond, Recover and then get Ready again, only better. Each disaster presents a new set of challenges to lay the foundation for a better response the next time around. It is a dynamic process, ever changing as more extreme weather, new disease outbreaks, earth-shaking catastrophes and unforeseen manmade crises arise – always demanding that we increase our knowledge and capabilities. In that work, we are ever mindful and incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of our donors and the presence of local partners who have the ground sense and skill necessary to meet the challenges and often only lack resources to prepare for them.
Generous donors make all our achievements possible. We are able to respond to more disasters, expand our health programs and save more lives because of the individuals, foundations and corporations that trust Americares to improve the lives of people in the United States and around the world.
More than 98% of our resources support health programs.
Americares efficiency with your charitable dollar is one reason that we’re trusted by donors and consistently receive high marks from charity evaluators.
Ways to Help
Whether you are an individual or a company, we have opportunities for you to make an impact. For example, you can start an online fundraiser or create a cause marketing program for your business.