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Disaster response teams

Responding to Disasters

When disasters strike, Heart to Heart International responds.

what we do

When disasters strike, Heart to Heart International responds.

We deploy experienced disaster response teams of volunteers to provide healthcare for those who have been affected by a disaster, and we distribute medicines and hygiene items to people who have lost homes, livelihoods, and loved ones.

Heart to Heart International is responding to Hurricane Ian in Florida. The Category 4 storm made landfall on Wednesday, September 8, 2022, bringing damaging rain, powerful winds, and life-threatening storm surge.

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Heart to Heart International
responds to…

Hurricanes/Typhoons
Flooding
Tornadoes
Wildfires
Earthquakes
Health Crises

Hurricanes/Typhoons

Hurricanes/Typhoons are powerful and dangerous storms and can cause major damage from storm surge, wind damage, rip currents and flooding.

When these strong storms make landfall, they can cause catastrophic damage to entire communities, flattening trees and homes, destroying clinics and community resources. When the medical infrastructure has been affected, HHI will deploy disaster response teams and resources to provide care, hygiene kits and replacement prescription medications. HHI has a long history of responding to deadly hurricanes and typhoons, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the three major hurricanes of Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017, and Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Flooding

Flooding can happen anywhere at any time of the year and is actually the deadliest form of severe weather.

Floods can be caused by heavy rainfall, overflowing rivers, broken dams and levees, and as a result of storm surges from hurricanes and tsunamis. Massive flooding can cause mudslides and can wash away homes, belongings and entire communities. Health challenges occur after flooding when drinking water becomes unsafe, bacteria grows and spreads, and standing water hides sharp and dangerous objects. When HHI responds to flooding, teams often provide tetanus shots, replacement medications, and hygiene items. Evacuations are frequent during and after flooding events, and access to medical care and hygiene items can be critical to maintain health.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes can demolish well-made structures, uproot trees, and hurl objects through the air at dangerous speeds.

Tornadoes can occur at any time of day or night and at any time of the year. Although tornadoes are most common in the Central Plains and the southeastern United States, they have been reported in all 50 states. HHI works with partners across the country and will deliver Hygiene Kits to replace items lost in the storm. HHI has deployed disaster response teams to provide medical care in the aftermath of many tornadoes, including ones in Joplin, Missouri; Moore, Oklahoma; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Henryville, Indiana.

Wildfires

When wildfires break out, they have the potential to harm property, livelihoods, and human health, particularly as more people live in and around forests, grasslands and other natural areas.

When wildfires threaten an area, evacuees take shelter in communal living situations, either because their communities are unsafe or their homes have been destroyed. The smoke that blankets areas around wildfires also poses health dangers to people living there. HHI responds to the needs of the communities by working with partners on the ground and providing hygiene items and humanitarian and medical aid. HHI has supplied aid to people affected by wildfires in the western U.S., including those in California and Oregon.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are natural disasters that happen all over the world and can range in intensity from a tiny tremor to large enough to destroy entire cities.

Unpredictable and deadly, earthquakes can especially cause massive damage in countries without adequate building regulations, where structures are poorly built and located close together. Earthquakes can also trigger fires, tsunamis, landslides or avalanches. HHI launched an unprecedented response to the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010, distributed resources after earthquakes in Puerto Rico, Indonesia, Ecuador and Mexico, and deployed an international medical team to Nepal in 2016.

Health Crises

Heart to Heart International responds to health crises that may not be considered natural disasters.

But, if people’s access to health is compromised, HHI will respond. This includes when people are at risk from deadly diseases such as Cholera in Haiti, Ebola in Liberia, and COVID-19 around the world. Rising numbers of refugees, such as the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey or Lebanon or refugees at the U.S./Mexico border, can require hygiene kits and medical supplies. Even explosions, such as the one in Lebanon in 2020, are responded to with medical and humanitarian aid.

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Give the gift of health when you donate to Heart to Heart International. We are committed to improving healthcare access in Kansas City and the entire world. When you gift a donation to us, you’re sending ripples of health into the world that will improve multiple lives.

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About

A history of healthcare access success

We have provided humanitarian service in more than 130 countries, have shipped over $2.4 billion in aid, and have logged more than 1 million volunteer hours.

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