(January 2, 2020) Your support is making a difference to entire communities of people who lost everything when Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas on September 1.
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. Because of your generous support, our medical teams have treated more than 2,600 patients since our arrival through stationary and mobile medical care. Abaco still does not have electricity or running water, so we are continuing to working with the government and local communities to bring help where it is needed.
Heart to Heart International arrived in the Bahamas one day after Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas. As the full extent of the damage continues to come to light more than a month later, the Bahamian Ministry of Health asked us to stay on Abaco island to provide care to those affected by the storm.
We have been 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. The mobile outreach is important as fuel remains a scarce commodity and most vehicles on the island were destroyed in the storm. Along with the mobile medical care, our teams have been distributing hygiene kits built by volunteers and organizations around the U.S. and have been helping to distribute other donated goods, including clothing, shoes, food, and cleaning supplies.
With operations in both Nassau and the Great Abaco Island, HHI has been coordinating with the Bahamian government, Ministry of Health, Pan-American Health Organization, and other NGOs. Team members have attended meetings in many different sectors in order to assess needs and resources and build partnerships. HHI’s team in Nassau has been providing substantial support to the teams in the field, not only with updates from the sector meetings but ensuring the teams have all the supplies and equipment needed to continue providing services.
HHI’s medical team has primarily been working out of the Corbett Medical Center in Treasure Cay, Great Abaco. The clinic is structurally sound and uses generator power for lights and cold-chain refrigeration. Water Mission provided clean water to the clinic with a Reverse Osmosis water filter unit. Team Rubicon UK has set up next to the clinic to provide additional support. World Central Kitchen has been airlifting hot meals in daily to the clinic to feed our team and the surrounding communities. A distribution site has been set up in the back of the clinic that is operated by a local community member. Residents can access food, water, and other needs at this site.
During the hurricane many people sought shelter in the Full Gospel Assembly Church, also referred to as the “Pink Church”. Due to the destruction of their homes, many continue to seek shelter here. HHI has been providing medical services to those staying in the church and those that continue to attend the church’s services.
A large Haitian population occupies the community known as “The Farm.” HHI’s medical team has been providing medical services periodically during their time in Abaco. “The Intersection” is known as a neighborhood within this area. Approximately 50-100 people live there, with the largest number of children out of all the communities. When HHI shows up, the kids ride their bikes over and yell, “we know you!”. Hygiene kits are a critical part of any disaster response, providing people with personal care basics as they begin rebuilding their lives. The kids go crazy for them and especially love the included towels.
One of the most severely impacted communities in Abaco was Marsh Harbour. The HHI medical team has provided outreach in this area and continues to assist the local clinic with their operations. Off the coast of Great Abaco, there are a number of cays that can only be accessed by boat. HHI performed needs assessments on these surrounding cays, and HHI’s team was one of the first to provide healthcare to some of these areas after Hurricane Dorian made landfall. The team is now working alongside the March Harbour Clinic with the Ministry of Health to provide services on a rotating basis to these communities.
As HHI moves forward and continues to provide services, we are transitioning from an initial response to developing a long-term sustainable plan for medical needs in Abaco.
As of October 4, we have treated more than 700 people in the Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian. Providing free medical services to people affected would not be possible without the support of all of our donors. Thank you. You are making a difference in the lives of people in need.
(September 17, 2019) Heart to Heart International’s role in any disaster response is to fill gaps in health care that exist because of the storm. Hurricane Dorian crippled the health system in Treasure Cay, Bahamas, and the community has asked us to stay as they begin the long road to recovery. We will stay as long as we are needed.
One aspect of our response to Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas includes mobile medical clinics on Abaco island.
Augustav, a member of our HHI-Haiti staff, joined our team this week to serve as a Creole translator for the areas with large Haitian populations. By breaking down language barriers, we are able to understand patient needs and connect with people in a more meaningful way.
Pictured here, Augustav explains to members of the community what we services HHI provides and listens to what their community needs.
If you need something taken care of in Treasure Cay, everyone knows you can go to Fire Chief Colin. Ever since Hurricane Dorian crashed into the Bahamas last week, Colin has been working hard to take care of his community on the Abaco islands.
And when he needed medical care this week, the Heart to Heart International team was happy to step up and take care of him for a change. It is a privilege to work alongside so many people and organizations, like Fire Chief Colin, dedicated to helping people in need after this hurricane.
During Hurricane Dorian Joseph Fradet needed shelter. He drove to a nearby church in hopes of finding safety. As he rushed through the doors, Joseph glanced over his shoulder. He watched his truck as it flew through the air, rolling over and over before ultimately coming to a stop on its roof. Mere seconds separated Joseph from being safe in that church or being crushed in his truck. HHI medical teams are now providing medical care to people in the same church that sheltered Joseph and dozens of others from Hurricane Dorian’s wrath.
(September 9, 2019) The Heart to Heart International medical team is providing care to people in clinics in Treasure Cay, Bahamas, and performing mobile medical outreach to the surrounding communities.
HHI chief medical officer Dr. Rick Randolph has been treating people in the Bahamas since the beginning of the response. “These communities have been destroyed; lives upended,” Dr. Randolph said. “If we can bring even the smallest comfort and hope to people in the middle of this tragedy, that is what we will do. Whether it is providing antibiotics, coordinating a medical airlift or simply listening to stories of their heartbreak, we are there. And we will continue to be there as long as we are needed.”
One such mission included Dr Randolph and the other response team members stabilizing a man in critical condition and coordinating an airlift out of Treasure Cay for not only him, but also his wife. The airlift transport was provided by a US Customs and Border Control Blackhawk helicopter.
HHI has eight medical personnel in Treasure Cay providing much-needed medical care. The medical team has seen patients with injuries from the storm and storm clean-up. They have been treating upper respiratory infections and intestinal illnesses, performing wound care and infection control, and coordinating medical flight evacuations.
Our domestic disaster response team was working over the weekend in Morehead City, NC, helping the Cartaret Health Care hospital with its influx of storm patients after Hurricane Dorian
Patients like 12-year-old Taylor, who was treated by our HHI medical team after she cut her leg while cleaning up rubble from her family’s storm-damaged home.
Thanks to Abbvie Foundation for providing the year-round support necessary for our Mobile Medical Unit to respond to disasters, including Hurricane Dorian, quickly and efficiently.
(September 7, 2019) Medical team members have been working on Abaco islands, making medical outreach trips to communities in desperate need.
Our team treated patients in an abandoned church in Man-o-War Cay, Bahamas. Traveling by boat to the tiny island, team members carried all their supplies and medications in duffel bags.
With no power on the island, the setting sun threatened the team with total darkness. But, they continued working. Using flashlights and head lamps, they helped patients with rashes, infections and lacerations from the debris blanketing the devastated island.
(September 6, 2019) The Heart to Heart International disaster response team has been in the Bahamas since Tuesday, meeting with officials and partner organizations, treating patients and assessing the needs of the Bahamian people affected by Hurricane Dorian.
Today, the Ministry of Health in the Bahamas asked HHI to provide medical care specifically on the Abaco islands. Team members are there now, and more medical providers are on their way.
Officials announced late Friday that the death toll from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas had risen to 43, with 35 dead in Abaco. That number is expected to grow as more than 6,600 people were missing.
HHI has been treating patients and assessing medical needs on Abaco island since Wednesday. The situation on the island is desperate.
Our domestic disaster response team has been treating patients in Morehead City, North Carolina. They are parked across the street from the Cartaret Health Care hospital, assisting with the influx of patients from Hurricane Dorian.
The medical team has been administering tetanus vaccines, performing wound care and health checkups, and providing other treatments.
Thanks to AbbVie Foundation’s support of our MMU’s disaster readiness, our teams are able to respond to disasters, including this response in North Carolina, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
(September 5, 2019) HHI prepared supplies, medications and personnel to deploy to the Bahamas. Our domestic disaster response team coordinated with partners to ship the supplies from Florida to our international team already in the Bahamas.
The domestic team is now traveling to North Carolina to respond to the flooding and damage from Hurricane Dorian there.
(September 4, 2019) Bahamian Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said he expects more deaths than the 7 that have so far been recorded: “We are in the midst of one of the greatest national [crises] in our country’s history.”
HHI Disaster Response Manager Joan Kelly spent the early morning in the Emergency Operations Center in Nassau, Bahamas. We are coordinating with government officials and other aid agencies to prepare for the arrival of additional medical personnel, medicines, medical supplies and hygiene items. We have team members en route to Abaco via plane to assess the destruction and medical needs on that island. Almost 7 tons of hygiene kits, tarps, ropes and cleaning supplies left the HHI warehouse today to be distributed to people in the Bahamas.
The domestic Disaster Response Team is stationed in Florida and has been monitoring the storm. It is prepared to deploy to the areas most in need.
(September 3, 2019) An HHI Disaster Response Team is on the ground in the Bahamas with more team members on their way, expected to land tonight. The advance team is connecting with partners, responders and government officials, determining ways to best provide desperately needed aid to those impacted by this catastrophic storm.
Hurricane Dorian is the strongest hurricane ever to hit the Bahamas, and it has been battering it for more than 48 hours since first making landfall on the Abacos Islands Sunday morning. The full extent of the damage is still to be seen, but is expected to be staggering.
Another HHI Disaster Response Team has now reached Ocala, Florida, with the Mobile Medical Unit and medical personnel. The team is prepared to respond to the needs of anyone affected by the flooding along the coast.
Heart to Heart International responding to catastrophic storm.
(September 1, 2019) Hurricane Dorian is now a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph according to the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center. Storm surge and hurricane watches have been issued for portions of Florida’s east coast ahead of this catastrophic storm.
HHI deployed an advance team on Saturday, August 30, 2019, to respond to Hurricane Dorian. The team includes the Mobile Medical Unit (an urgent care facility on wheels), 2 support vehicles and 4 logistics experts in advance of the storm’s estimated landfall. The team includes an EMT and a nurse who is also an HHI disaster response intern. The mobile medical unit is stocked with medicines, tetanus vaccines, and medical supplies and will also bring hygiene kits, water and supplies for those affected by the storm.
The advance team with the Mobile Medical Unit is pre-positioned in Atlanta; HHI has a disaster response team member in North Carolina and disaster response medical volunteers in Florida. Being prepared enables HHI to respond to whatever areas are impacted by this catastrophic storm.
HHI is also monitoring the impact of the storm in the Bahamas and are reaching out to partners to determine how to best help after the storm crosses the island.
This advance response is being supported by HHI’s long-time partner AbbVie Foundation.
(August 31, 2019) HHI disaster response team deployed to Hurricane Dorian this morning. The team is monitoring the course of the storm and will adjust the response plan according to the storm’s latest track.
(August 29, 2019) Hurricane Dorian is forecast to intensify into a Category 4 hurricane and pose a major danger to the southeastern U.S., especially Florida, over Labor Day weekend. The Heart to Heart International disaster response team is actively preparing its response to the storm.
The team is monitoring the track of the storm and will coordinate the departure of the Mobile Medical Unit and response team accordingly.
Medical team members are on the ground in Florida, monitoring the situation and providing updates to the team.
We will continue to update as the situation progresses.