Hurricanes, floods and other extreme weather events are becoming a fact of life and the destruction from these storms goes beyond individual homes and health centers; they may completely destroy neighborhoods or entire communities in a few hours or even minutes.
Extreme weather events create some specific challenges for Americares Emergency Response Team and our health care partners, and good planning provides response solutions. For example:
Wind and subsequent water damage to roof, windows and doors of the facility — destroying equipment, medicine & supplies, rendering the facility inoperable when it is most needed.
Provide emergency repairs or a temporary facility, restock medicines/supplies, replace equipment and then build back better.
Loss of access to ongoing health care due to remote location and/or infrastructure damage. A particular threat to people with chronic disease, expectant mothers and children.
Send emergency medical teams to communities and house-to-house if necessary to provide primary health care and referrals for specialized care.
Loss of power and thus loss of medicines that require refrigeration such as insulin and vaccines.
Generators and/or fuel to run them along with rapid resupply of lost medicines. Tetanus and chronic diseases are life threatening without vaccines, medicines and supplies.
Evacuations to temporary shelters or to makeshift camps.
Hygiene kits, emergency medicine and supplies for those who had to flee quickly without their personal belongings or medications. Supplies such as mosquito bed nets, insect repellant, water purification and cleaning materials and tetanus vaccine are also important for those who return to their homes in the aftermath and face possible water and vector borne diseases and cleanup injuries.
Trauma and other extreme stress for survivors including health workers in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
Trained health workers to identify trauma and support programs for those most at risk, and especially support for health workers who are often survivors themselves.
An EF-5 tornado, like the one in Oklahoma in 2013 had winds near 200 mph and was over 2 miles wide. Typhoon Haiyan in the same year was the most powerful storm on record. Extreme weather of this magnitude is merciless and leaves little standing in its path. With the rise in such disasters, we know the life-saving value of “ready, respond, recover”.
The 2017 Hurricane Season produced Harvey, Irma and Maria, leaving death and destruction on an epic scale. Americares responded to all 3 and continues the recovery.
Americares responded to Hurricane Matthew’s deadly path through Haiti and other Caribbean nations and continues the recovery work.
On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, possibly the most powerful storm ever recorded, dealt a massive blow to the Philippines. We responded within 72 hours.