We don’t wait for the wind to blow or a disaster to strike before we do something.
We prepare beforehand.
So when the sirens do sound – we are ready.
This is the work that goes on before a disaster strikes, before anything shows up in the news. Staff and volunteers at our Operations Hub prepare and stockpile supplies like our Ready Relief Boxes and hygiene kits. The Mobile Medical Unit – a rolling urgent care facility – is stocked with medicines and supplies and made ready to roll out at short notice.
Now is not the time for delay. Once a disaster occurs, we must move quickly. Depending on the needs of a community a HHI Disaster Response can take many forms – shipping aid and supplies, deploying staff and volunteers, mobilizing the MMU – and sometimes a combination of all.
Keep us prepared to respond.
Donate Now to our Disaster Readiness and Response fund.
HHI DISASTER RESPONSES
After Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico on September 20, the island was left without power, clean water or communication capabilities. People were in desperate need of help. And, on October 6, that help arrived from a most unexpected spot on the globe: the tiny island nation of Haiti, which itself is well-versed in the damage and destruction caused by natural disasters. Read more about our Haitian Response Team, here.
Heart to Heart International visited the hardest-hit and remote areas of Puerto Rico bringing medical relief to people cut-off from the outside world. HHI medical volunteer teams are in Caguas, Puerto Rico. They saw and treated patients in Rio Canas, Orocovis and Jayuya. They have also set up an urgent/primary care center in Barranquitas. The teams were the only humanitarian responders providing medical care in these remote areas.
Hurricane Irma raged on the heels of Hurricane Harvey battering the Florida Keys and making landfall on September 10. Waterways swelled 10 to 15 feet in some areas, destroying roads, knocking out power and leaving vegetation stripped all over the string of islands. In early September, as forecasters began plotting the storm’s path, Heart to Heart International made plans to mobilize. The Mobile Medical Unit was used in the response to Hurricane Harvey, so a HHI team drove to Florida to be in place after Irma finished its punishing course over the state.
FEMA estimated 25 percent of the homes in the Keys were destroyed and 65 percent sustained damage. Power was knocked out, as was cell communication. When the giant storm surged washed over the island, it flooded cars and trucks, leaving many people without any form of transportation. Though Govenor Scott issued a mandatory evacuation order for parts of Florida, including the Keys, approximately 10,000 residents of the Keys stayed.
Hurricane Harvey became the nation’s first Category 4 landfall in almost 12 years, hammering the Texas Gulf Coast with an extremely dangerous combination of torrential rainfall, storm-surge flooding and destructive winds. Harvey stalled for a few days, leading to dangerous flooding in Texas and Louisiana.
Heart to Heart International had a disaster response team and mobile medical unit deploy Friday, August 25th, from Kansas City to arrive in Texas ahead of the storm. HHI worked with local partners to identify areas of greatest need and provide medical support and aid distribution. 2,500 cars with families showed up to the HHI response site within the first week. As HHI’s response ramped up, two mobile clinics were setup in Katy, TX to help with overflow from a regional hospital.
Historic flooding resulted in extensive damage to over 500 homes, businesses, and property in Neosho, MO. Many families lost everything. Heart to Heart International arrived in Neosho on Sunday, April 30th, and quickly distributed bottled water and supplies. More aid is needed urgently.
Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti on October 4th, 2016. What started out as disaster response turned into recovery mode. Over 14,000 patients have been treated for injury, sickness, and various other medical needs. Thirty pallets of medicines, medical supplies, and hygiene kits were shipped in by FedEx and are now being distributed. The shipment is helping aid Haitians and improving their health situations.
Contaminated drinking water is the number one health concern. Cholera and other acute diarrheal diseases are the biggest threat post-disaster, putting the lives of thousands of children and the elderly in danger. Several months after the disaster, and with the help of many corporate partners, HHI built Cholera treatment units to help cure affected people. Read more here.
10,132 Hygiene Kits were delivered from The Hub to help ease the stress & strain on residents. Torrential downpours across the state displaced 12,000 men, woman and children. This was the largest disaster in 100 years for the state of Louisiana. Thank you to our partners & volunteers who helped with our response. Click here to learn more about our response.
West Virginia Flood
HHI deployed it’s Mobile Medical Unit (sponsored by the AbbVie Foundation) and partnered with West Virginia Health Right Clinic (Charleston, WV) to provide medical support in response to the West Virginia flooding. The team consisted of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and provided medicines, and medical supplies, including tetanus shots, to more than 175 residents and relief workers. Heart to Heart also provided essential supplies to those displaced from their homes including 2,500 blankets and 1,500 hygiene kits all provided by Johnson & Johnson.
A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the small country of Ecuador on April 16, 2016. Within hours, HHI had deployed an advance team to the country to assess needs and prepare the way for HHI’s Disaster Response Team.
The largest movement of people in Europe since World War Two. HHI initially responded by shipping 9,000 hygiene kits to Greece for distribution by longtime partner the International Medical Corps. An HHI team also deployed to the border of Croatia/Serbia in the autumn of 2015 to work with relief agencies, coordinating the delivery of more aid. HHI committed to sending thousands of blankets, with 10,000 being sent in January 2016.
In mid-June 2015, thousands of people began to flee over the border from the Dominican Republic into Haiti – many were forcibly deported – as Dominican officials began to implement a controversial immigration program targeting Haitian migrants and Dominican-born people of Haitian descent. HHI provided medical care, food and supplies and by mid-September, the numbers in the camps had grown to 3,000 refugees living in four camps.
In late April 2015, HHI rapidly deployed a mobile medical team to Nepal following a devastating earthquake. which trekked into the Himalayas, and shipped more than 15 tons of emergency supplies and food. Read more about our Nepal Earthquake response.
From late Summer 2014 into the Spring of 2015, HHI was involved in the global fight to stop the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Read stories from our time on the front lines of Ebola and watch this moving video and hear a survivor’s tale.
Forecasters warned it was going to be bad. They had it right on the money. In April 2014, a multitude of tornadoes ripped across the mid-South and South. While relief supplies were packaged for shipment to a town in Mississippi, a HHI Disaster Response Team delivered hundreds of hygiene kits and thousands of sunscreen tubes to people in communities on the outskirts of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Shortly after the strongest tropical cyclone to ever make landfall struck the central Philippines we mounted our largest international relief operation in years. Issuing an international call for volunteers, we deployed nearly three dozen medical providers to work in makeshift clinics treating more than 3,000 people in the aftermath of the typhoon. We also shipped more than 44 tons of medical aid, food and survival supplies to be distributed to survivors. Read more about our Typhoon Relief Operation in the Philippines.
Within hours of an EF-5 tornado tearing apart homes and a medical center, our Mobile Medical Unit was on site in Moore. For the next few weeks, staff and volunteers worked from the MMU providing medical care for storm survivors and rescue personnel, and leading medical teams home to home.
Two days after Heart to Heart International celebrated its 20th Anniversary, the MMU was on its way to the Northeast and we were preparing to send shipments of relief aid in the wake of Sandy. While the MMU was based at shelters in Long Island and staffed by local doctors and nurses, the shipments of aid began arriving in communities in New Jersey and New York.
Joplin, MO Tornado
Sichuan, China Earthquake