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.
HHI DISASTER RESPONSES
Heart to Heart International is responding to the global crisis by delivering critically needed medicines, medical supplies, and hygiene items to healthcare facilities and people in need. HHI is also supporting a drive-thru testing site in Kansas City, Kansas, helping staff a hotline for COVID-19 questions, and performing patient follow-up for people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The need is great during this pandemic, and the response is changing and evolving as needs change.
Read updates about HHI’s response here.
A deadly tornado touched down in Middle Tennessee early Tuesday, March 3, killing at least 24 people and destroying at least 140 buildings. HHI immediately began contacting partners on the ground and sent almost 2,000 hygiene kits that were distributed to people affected by the storm. Read more about the efforts here.
Heart to Heart International arrived in the Bahamas one day after Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas. Our teams began providing care through a fixed clinic location in Treasure Cay and mobile medical clinics to communities, including Man o War, Hope Town, Marsh Harbour, and many others. Our medical team was the first in the Abaco Islands, and the Bahamian Ministry of Health asked us to continue providing care to those communities. Medical needs are immense in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, and they continue during the clean up and recovery periods.
HHI volunteers logged more than 7,200 hours and treated more than 2,400 patients in the Bahamas from September – December 2019. HHI is working with Lutheran World Relief, JDC, and All Hands and Heart to establish a ‘Clinic in a Can’ on Abaco. HHI will continue to provide medical care in conjunction with Project Hope’s community initiatives, including a WASH program.
Read more about the response here.
On May 28, 2019, a mile-wide tornado destroyed homes and buildings in the nearby towns of Linwood, Basehor, and Lawrence, Kansas. The HHI disaster response team immediately mobilized with an assessment team on the ground that night. A volunteer medical provider and mobile medial unit was established at the Linwood elementary school the next morning.
The HHI disaster response team saw almost 200 patients; administered 175 tetanus vaccines; distributed hygiene kits, masks, water and clean-up supplies, and helped the community organize the donations it received. HHI also delivered hygiene kits to partners and shelters in Joplin and Jefferson City, Missouri, after tornadoes touched down in those communities.
After Cyclone Idai crashed ashore in southern Africa, people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe were left displaced, and Cholera began spreading in the flooded communities. HHI responded with a disaster response team on the ground and shipments of hygiene kits and medications to partners. We worked with our partners to deliver aid to those in need.
Massive flooding wreaked havoc on areas of the Midwest. In March 2019, HHI delivered almost 400 hygiene kits to Community Action Partnership in Holt County, Missouri, which was setting up a distribution center for food, diapers, and hygiene products for people affected by the flooding. In early April 2019, HHI delivered another shipment of hygiene kits to a distribution center in Mound City, Missouri.
Michael, a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph, made landfall on the Florida Panhandle on October 10, 2018. The powerful storm uprooted trees, downed power lines, destroyed buildings and threw vehicles through the air. 57 U.S. deaths were attributed to the storm, and it caused at least $15 billion in damage in the U.S.
Heart to Heart International (HHI) medical teams traveled through this destruction to position the Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) in Panama City, Florida, in the parking lot of Deane Bozeman High School.
In addition to working out of the MMU, HHI also treated patients at secondary locations and traveled with the Florida Department of Health into Mexico City Beach to provide care and deliver hygiene kits to those affected in that community.
Medical teams saw patients with a variety of medical needs, including: upper respiratory issues, infections, insect stings/bites, and skin conditions. They also provided prescription refills, wound and diabetes care and tetanus vaccinations.
Throughout the course of the response, medical volunteers working with HHI logged 640 volunteer hours in service of those in need, seeing 1,089 patients, administering 667 tetanus vaccines, and delivering 11,790 hygiene kits.
HHI continued its support of the area’s recovery by partnering with Amgen Foundation to install a Clinic in a Can in Panama City, where from the beginning of December through the end of January 2019, medical providers saw almost 600 patients.
As a result of face-to-face meetings with our partner and information gathered from other organizations and the Indonesian government, it was determined that supporting the work of a local partner was the best and most efficient way to get aid to those in need.
We moved forward with helping those affected by the disasters by supporting the work of HOPE worldwide’s local medical teams. That immediate support came in the form of funding and a delivery of medicines that would treat approximately 1500 patients, plus an additional shipment of medicine.
With almost 2,000 people confirmed dead and another 5,000 missing, these disasters have devastated the region. The recovery of the area is just beginning, and we will continue to work to provide health and hope to those in need. (Oct 9, 2018)
HHI responded to Hurricane Florence on September 14, 2018 after the storm caused massive flooding in North Carolina. The Mobile Medical Unit made it to Raleigh/Durham on September 16th after traveling two days from Kansas City. HHI was able to partner with multiple organizations, distributing 12,520 hygiene kits to disaster victims. Over the course of two and a half weeks, HHI’s medical teams saw 690 patients and administer 423 tetanus shots.
Heart to Heart International stationed in Marshalltown, Iowa, assessing needs of those affected by the tornadoes that ripped through the town on July 19th, 2018. The hospital sustained damages after a direct hit, and within a hour of reports of injuries, HHI sprung into action. HHI’s Mobile Medical Unit helped fill the gap with medicines, supplies, lab capability and exam rooms. The PowrServ team helped by distributing kits to those cleaning up houses and neighborhoods.
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.
European Refugee Crisis
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.
Haiti Refugee Crisis
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.
Moore, Oklahoma Tornado
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
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. 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.