There was before Katrina. And there was after Katrina.
The hurricane that roared ashore on August 29, 2005 – wiping coastlines clean and flooding an American city – changed countless lives. Katrina changed Heart to Heart International too.
Heart to Heart International’s response to Katrina became our largest and longest humanitarian effort to that point.
Before the storm had even subsided, HHI was mounting a relief operation, working with partners like FedEx and gathering supplies – water, medicine, medical supplies, hygiene items and more – preparing to drive and deliver them into the worst of the destruction. People were desperately in need. And HHI was going to help.
Read how HHI came to the rescue of Jefferson Parish emergency responders
For 18 months after the storm HHI worked along the Gulf Coast – New Orleans; Jefferson Parish; Slidell, Louisiana; Gulfport, Mississippi; Houston – providing medical care and supplies to so many communities in need.
Beyond delivering truck-loads of relief supplies, HHI mobilized medical professionals who volunteered their time to staff our mobile clinic. And we deployed a then-brand new Mobile Medical Unit which gave our team greater mobility to reach and treat the healthcare needs of people along the Gulf Coast.
Our work in the early days and in the many months after, launched a decade of disaster and crisis response for HHI across the US and around the world.
See more photos from HHI’s time on the Gulf Coast after Katrina
The names and places are familiar: the Sichuan Earthquake in China – the Haiti Earthquake – Joplin, Missouri – Moore, Oklahoma – the Alabama tornados – Superstorm Sandy – Hurricane Isaac – Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines – Haitian Refugee Crisis – Ebola in Liberia – the Nepal Earthquake… and in so many more places big and small.
We rely on the support of donors and partners to make what we do happen and we can never have enough of that support. It allows our medical teams to deploy into remote regions, it helps deliver hygiene items to shelters in the US, it helps keep our Operations Hub filled with emergency aid, and it even helps with disease prevention and training in places like Haiti. Donations let us expand access to healthcare, help people in crisis and help heal communities.
We don’t want another Katrina to ever happen. But if it does – when the next disaster strikes – we will, we must, be ready to respond.