Providing Medical Services and Supplies
International Medical Corps is mobilising resources and staff to respond to Hurricane Dorian
Dorian initially hit Puerto Rico, where many residents are still reeling from the devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, with winds of 75 mph and heavy localized rainfall. It then developed into a dangerous Category 5 storm before slamming into the northwestern Bahamas, where it caused significant damage. When it made contact, with sustained wind speeds of 185 mph, gusts of up to 220 mph and storm surges as high as 23 feet, it was the strongest hurricane in modern records for the Bahamas, where the death toll has risen to 58—a number expected to rise further still as assessments continue.
After devastating the Bahamas, the slow-moving hurricane tracked up the east coast of the United States, affecting Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. In preparation for the storm, the governors of these states declared states of emergency, and are still dealing with the effects of the storm, including damage caused by high winds, dangerous storm surges, flash flooding and widespread loss of electric power.
International Medical Corps’ Response
In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, International Medical Corps has deployed an emergency response team consisting of doctors, nurses, logisticians, mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS) specialists, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) specialists. The Bahamian government asked us to help lead assessment efforts throughout Grand Bahama island, which has a population of more than 50,000, and to provide medical care throughout the island, especially in the central and eastern portions, which were the most affected by the storm and where the health system has been decimated. In Nassau and on Grand Bahama, we currently have more than 20 specialists on the ground to address urgent needs through mobile units as well as through our emergency medical health facility.
At the request of the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), International Medical Corps deployed emergency medical and response teams to support the state’s emergency operations. The emergency response team included field team members with medical and logistical expertise who travelled to the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee to prepare for the storm’s impact. We also deployed medical teams to help the FDOH provide emergency health services to vulnerable populations, and are working with state authorities and local partners in the Carolinas to help them respond to the storm, which brought high winds, flooding and tornadoes to the area. For example, we’re working with the North Carolina Primary Care Association to determine how we can best support their response needs, especially on hard-hit Ocracoke Island.
In Puerto Rico, International Medical Corps’ field team will continue to coordinate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Health and the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) as operations return to normal in the country.
The situation in the Bahamas is fluid and constantly changing, so check back here often for news about International Medical Corps’ response.
- Hurricane Dorian slammed into the northwest Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane, then tracked up the eastern coast of the United States, slowly weakening in strength but still bringing with it dangerous storm surges and flash flooding.
- International Medical Corps has deployed an emergency response team that is working with the Government of the Bahamas and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in efforts to carry out lifesaving health and medical interventions on Grand Bahama island.
- The governor of Florida declared a state of emergency, and the state Department of Health requested International Medical Corps' assistance under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding we have with the state; the governors of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia also declared states of emergency.