Disaster response team responding to Hurricane Laura

September 2, 2020 – Hurricane Laura has caused 16 fatalities and has left approximately 246,000 people still without power. Power is not expected to be fully restored in some areas for up to an estimated four weeks.

Heart to Heart International has set up its mobile medical unit to be used as a temporary clinic site for The Southwest Louisiana (SWLA) Center for Health Services, an FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Clinic) in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The clinic’s roof was destroyed in the hurricane. The mobile medical unit is in the parking lot of the clinic so patients can receive medical care even as the clinic works to rebuild its facility.

The disaster response team on the ground has also been meeting with clinics, government officials, and other organizations and are distributing tetanus vaccines throughout the area to protect residents as they return and begin their own process of cleaning and rebuilding.

August 31, 2020 – Heart to Heart International is setting up its mobile medical unit in Lake Charles, Louisiana. As evacuated residents return to their communities, our team on the ground will be able to provide basic and urgent medical care and replace critical medications lost in the storm.

HHI is also providing 4,185 hygiene kits and 1,800 blanket kits to Catholic Charities, Save the Children and Health Hut. These organizations will distribute the kits to people in need throughout Louisiana and Texas.

These hygiene and blanket kits were assembled or sponsored by: BD, Ecolab, Johnson and Johnson, Signet, Touchnet and VML.

August 28, 2020 – Tropical Storm Laura, which has been downgraded from a hurricane, made landfall early Thursday morning in Cameron, Louisiana just 35 miles east of the Texas-Louisiana border — as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds.

There have been six reported fatalities and approximately 740,000 people are without power. More than 750,000 residents of Texas and Louisiana were ordered to evacuate and were placed in hotels throughout Texas and Louisiana. COVID-19 concerns meant that only a few large-scale shelters were set up. Damage assessment remains ongoing.

HHI Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rick Randolph deployed with the advance response team and gives an update of the team’s activities.

Heart to Heart International’s advance disaster response team left headquarters this morning. They are headed south to bring vaccinations, medicines, hygiene kits and medical aid to people impacted by Hurricane Laura.

August 26, 2020Hurricane Laura has strengthened into a Category 4 as it heads for landfall near the Texas and Louisiana border Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. A storm surge warning is in effect from Freeport, Texas, to the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana, including Galveston Bay and areas inside the Port Arthur, Texas, hurricane flood protection system. A hurricane warning is now in effect from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana. Hurricane conditions will affect these areas Wednesday night and Thursday. More than 750,000 residents of Texas and Louisiana have been ordered to evacuate.

Heart to Heart International (HHI) will be deploying a disaster response advance team on August 27, 2020 to respond to this dangerous storm.

The team includes the Mobile Medical Unit (an urgent care facility on wheels), support vehicles, and medical and logistics personnel. The mobile medical unit is stocked with personal protective equipment, medicines, tetanus vaccines, and medical supplies and will also bring hygiene kits, water and supplies for those affected by the storm. 

HHI has been reaching out to partners in the area and has been participating in coordination calls with the Louisiana and Texas VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters) to determine what needs are anticipated on the ground.

HHI has developed a risk mitigation plan for deploying in a pandemic environment and increased precautions have been put in place to ensure safety of team members during a deployment, including a COVID-19 test for each team member prior to deployment.

This advance response is being supported by HHI’s long-time partner AbbVie Foundation. 

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