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Hurricanes in the Caribbean

Hurricanes in the Caribbean

International Medical Corps Responding in Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Caribbean

International Medical Corps is responding in Puerto Rico, Florida, and across the Caribbean to ensure families are safe and have the resources they need to recover in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Hurricane Maria devastated many islands still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Irma and exacerbated the crisis by wreaking havoc on islands such as Puerto Rico that had been spared Irma’s destruction.

Our Response

Responding to Hurricanes Irma and Maria

International Medical Corps’ disaster response experts are on the ground in Puerto Rico, and across the Caribbean, coordinating with response agencies and local organizations in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Medical supplies are being distributed, while further relief items are being prepared for shipment. We currently have a team working in Puerto Rico and another based in Antigua and Barbados to help provide relief to hard-hit islands nearby, including Dominica. We are also supporting recovery efforts in Florida. 

Puerto Rico

International Medical Corps is on the ground in Puerto Rico, where are partnering with the Puerto Rico Primary Health Association, a network of 62 clinics focused on providing care to low-income families across the island. Power outages are making it increasingly difficult to run health facilities, with many clinics resorting to shortened hours of operations or providng care out of smaller spaces that can be powered by a generator. It has also been difficult to maintain cold chain for many urgently needed medications, especially for chronic care. 

International Medical Corps is providing logistics support to help urban and rural clinics across the island get back to caring for patients. This includes providing generators to clinics as well as San Juan-area hospitals. We are also working with a partner organization to restore internet and communications capabilities for the Puerto Rico Primary Health Association and distributing solar lights to clinics. Our team is also looking at how we can support the supply of medications across the island, especially those that require cold chain. 

This is the first time where I’ve seen such wall-to-wall, corner-to-corner, 100 percent population affected. So many people are reliant on a health care delivery chain that’s been interrupted. That chain relies on power and fuel to move goods and meds to places where the patients can access them. The clinics where they might normally receive care in, likewise, need to be up and running.

– Dr. Robert Fuller, Puerto Rico Emergency Response Team Member

Dominica, Haiti and Across the Caribbean

On other Caribbean islands, we are working to help get health systems back up and running. In Dominica, International Medical Corps is providing medications and basic medical supplies to 10 clinics across the island that have not received stocks for weeks due to extremely limited road access. The shipment of medical supplies—known as an International Emergency Health Kit—can provide care for up to 10,000 people for three months and will enable remote clinics in Dominica to provide care to those in need.

International Medical Corps is also funding daily flights from Barbados to Dominica in order to increase the number of medical personnel on the ground and to bring much-needed medical supplies, including blood donations and testing equipment. We are also mobilising hygiene kits and sanitation supplies for distribution to families in Dominica and other hard-hit islands in the Caribbean.

I would have to say have to say that having seen and been through a number of different hurricanes, the level of devastation in Dominica is probably the worst I have ever seen.

– Ian Rodgers, International Medical Corps Emergency Response Director

Our team in northern Haiti continues to operate mobile medical units that can respond to flare-ups of cholera—a risk that could increase as a result of Irma’s heavy rainfall as it passed the island. The team is looking at ways they can plus up support to help prevent a spike in cholera cases, and working to identify additional relief that might be needed in the wake of Irma.

Florida

International Medical Corps is also working with a local network of 30 clinics in Florida that reach 80,000 underserved men, women, and children in and around Fort Myers. With many of the clinic staff displaced from their homes, International Medical Corps is providing provide sanitation facilities to help them return to work. We are also working to restore power and the network’s clinic in Bonita Springs, which serves some 30,000 people. We will soon by extending our support to another clinic network in Miami-Dade County.

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