Haiti team treats Haitian earthquake survivors


Heart to Heart International (HHI), providing lifesaving disaster relief and humanitarian aid throughout the world for nearly 30 years, is assisting injured earthquake survivors in the affected areas thanks to its Haitian medical team who has been on the ground in Haiti since 2010.

When the 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti about 150 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince on August 14, Heart to Heart International, led by the Medical Director Dr. Laila Bien-Aimé, assembled its team of local Haitian doctors and nurses to immediately respond in the areas impacted by the earthquake. HHI has maintained a health program in Haiti since the earthquake in 2010, and was able to start treating people within 36 hours after the earthquake.

HHI has previously worked in this region of Haiti during Hurricane Matthew and has been connecting with officials and healthcare partners in the area. In addition to treating the immediate needs of the people impacted by the earthquake, the HHI medical teams are prepared for the growing threat of other illnesses that typically accompany natural disasters and inadequate sanitation as well as COVID-19.

The earthquake has left thousands of people dead and injured and destroyed homes and infrastructures including hospitals. The team has been treating patients with fractures, possible infections and other injuries as well as distributing medicine and supplies to local clinics.

“The need here in Haiti is great and a lot is unknown,” said Wes Comfort, Caribbean Response and Recovery Lead. “The patients we are helping have been through so much trauma and continue to experience agony because the past few nights have been very difficult. We’ve had aftershocks and a tropical depression come through with rain and wind. Many people are without shelter and have injuries. Some of the areas are still unreachable because of the mudslides or simply the roads are impassable.

“We are grateful for the dedication and work of our teams on the ground and for the ongoing generosity of our supporters throughout the world.”

From its warehouse in Lenexa, Kansas, HHI has prepared several large shipments that will go out this week including medicines, medical supplies and hygiene kits to the impacted areas.

Preparedness is our strength, and with 30 years of experience responding to sudden onset disasters, we are ready for a crisis exactly like this earthquake,” said Kim Carroll, Chief Executive Officer of Heart to Heart International. “Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti who’ve been through so much and continue to suffer in the wake of another natural disaster. We are thankful that our experience in disaster response can provide qualified resources to help make a difference.”

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Release: HHI responding to Haiti earthquake


Aug. 15, 2021

Heart to Heart International medical team in Haiti responding to 7.2 earthquake

LENEXA, Kan. – In response to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Saturday, August 14, 2021 Heart to Heart International (HHI) immediately deployed a team of Haitian doctors and nurses to the affected areas.

The team will be in the impacted communities by Monday to assess needs, meet with local community partners, distribute hygiene kits and treat patients. More supplies and team members will be sent as needs are determined.

HHI has had a presence in Haiti since the earthquake in 2010 with a Haitian team that focuses on healthcare and disaster preparedness and provides outpatient and family medicine at clinics throughout the country.

“Heart to Heart International-Haiti is uniquely qualified and prepared to respond to this earthquake because the team is already in the country and able to reach the affected areas almost immediately,” said Kim Carroll, president and CEO of Heart to Heart International.

Many of the staff members have family in the most impacted areas. In addition to the loss of life, the team is sending reports of thousands of destroyed homes and buildings, landslides over major roads, incredibly damaged infrastructure and strong potential for disease and other health concerns because of unsanitary water supplies.

The HHI-Haiti medical team has experience in disaster response. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, an all-Haitian medical team from HHI deployed to Puerto Rico to treat patients in the rural mountain region. The team was successful because they had previous personal experience recovering from natural disasters.

This earthquake is sandwiched between Tropical Storm Fred, which passed over northern Haiti earlier this week, and Tropical Storm Grace, which is on track to pass over Haiti in the coming days. This also is on top of the recent turmoil of President Jovenel Moise’s assassination five weeks ago.

To help those impacted by the earthquake, donate here.

Heart to Heart International is a nonprofit international health organization with its headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas. Since its inception in 1992, HHI has delivered medical aid and supplies worth $2.2 billion to more than 130 countries, including within the United States. HHI responds to natural disasters both domestically and internationally by supplying medical relief and mobilizing volunteers. The organization is a 4-star Charity Navigator charity and is on the “Philanthropy 400.” To learn more, visit hearttoheart.org.

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Responding to Earthquakes in Puerto Rico

UPDATE (January 14, 2020) HHI is supporting the Ponce Health Sciences University Mobile Medical Unit, which has deployed to the areas impacted by the recent earthquakes.  In addition to supporting the Ponce Health Sciences University, HHI is supporting the Puerto Rico Department of Health with hygiene kits and technical assistance, building on an ongoing grant program established in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. HHI is working to fulfill a request for tetanus vaccines and insulin in response to the earthquakes and is actively participating in the Puerto Rico VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) meetings looking for potential partnerships, connections, and ways to help the anticipated impacted communities.

Hygiene kits assembled by the following partners are being sent to restock the already distributed supply of kits:

  • PQMD (Partnership for Quality Medical Donations)
  • IBT Industrial Solutions
  • Ecolab
  • Employment Practices Network of Kansas City

(January 10, 2020) A 6.4 magnitude earthquake shook the southern region of Puerto Rico on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, followed by a 6.0 aftershock. These are the latest in a series of earthquakes that began on December 28. These quakes have forced more than 2,000 people into shelters. A million people are without power and thousands are without water as of Thursday, January 9.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico. “We are concerned about potential impacts of this week’s earthquakes on the lives of our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico,” Azar said. “Across HHS, we have worked closely with the territory’s health and human services authorities on disaster recovery, and will continue to do everything we can to help ensure the health and well-being of people across the island.”

Heart to Heart International has had an agreement in place with the Medical Corps Reserve of Puerto Rico since fall of 2019 to respond to health needs in Puerto Rico in the case of a disaster. We stockpiled hygiene kits with the Puerto Rican government (Medical Reserve Corps), with COSSAO in Utuado and with TLC in Yabucoa. The organizations have distributed the kits to those sheltering outside in the Southwest part of the island

“We have remained active in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017, working with local communities and government organizations to improve health access and be better prepared should a disaster occur. No one ever wants a disaster to happen, but you want the ability to respond quickly if they do. With hygiene kits prepositioned on the island, we are able to help people immediately after a disaster,” said Kim Carroll, CEO, Heart to Heart International.

More hygiene kits are being shipped to Puerto Rico to fulfill requests from the Medical Reserve Corps and the Office of Public Health.

We continue to reach out to all our partners on the island and remain ready to respond to needs on the ground.

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HHI Responds to Ecuador Earthquake


Photo Credit: Galeria del Ministerio de Defensa del Perú

As of this writing, the death toll from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador has risen to 350.  That number is expected to go even higher.  More than 2,000 are estimated to have been injured. (UPDATE 21 Apr16:  The death toll has risen to near 600, with nearly 7,000 injured).

The quake struck Saturday, April 16th, 2016, a few minutes shy of 7:00pm CDT on the northwest coast of Ecuador, near the town of Pedernales.  Towns and villages up and down the coast have been ravaged, and the area around the city of Portoviejo especially hit hard.

HHI has deployed an advance team to Ecuador.

Hours after the quake struck, an advance team for HHI was on the way, with the team lead arriving Sunday night.  The team will be working within the greater disaster relief effort coordinating our efforts, managing logistics and determining the best way HHI can provide aid.

Once that determination is made, we could deploy a Disaster Response Team, a skilled cadre of medical professionals – doctors, nurses, paramedics – that can provide first aid and trauma care in rough conditions.

The DRT is designed to be self-sufficient and deploys with nearly everything it needs.  A team like this was sent in shortly after the Nepal earthquake in April 2015, hiking into the Himalayas to reach remote communities.

HHI responded, ready to help people in need.

Please support our efforts to help in all times of disaster.



Nepal Earthquake Relief by the Numbers

The impact of Heart to Heart International’s relief operation in Nepal following the earthquake went beyond our medical team trekking into the mountains to treat earthquake survivors. Additionally, HHI provided a large amount of disaster supplies, medicine and materials to sustain relief efforts.  Here are the numbers…

Supplies arrive in Nepal

Several pallets of relief supplies, originating from HHI’s Operations Hub, arrive at a depot in Nepal for distribution.


The big cubes in the back of the truck (pictured above) are just a few of the 40 stacked and plastic-wrapped pallets of supplies that HHI shipped via a FedEx Airlift in response to the devastating Nepal earthquake.  This shipment was delivered to the relief organization Nazarene Compassionate Ministries for distribution.  In total this shipment contained just more than 15 tons of supplies.

Shipment breakdown:

3,768 HHI Care Kits and Johnson & Johnson Hygiene Kits (both types assembled by HHI volunteers)

3,600 water filters, each providing up to 208 gallons of clean water per day

Tents to provide shelter for at least 120 people, and 180 disaster blankets

500 bottles of Biaxin to provide more than 2,000 courses of anti-biotic treatments

Food shipment Nepal

Boxes of prepared meals – 142,560 in total – are loaded onto a truck in Nepal. The meals were provided by one of HHI’s partners Stop Hunger Now.


Part of this shipment included thousands of meals from the organization Stop Hunger Now.  At our Operations Hub, we bundled 142,560 of their nutritious, dehydrated meals into the shipment bound for Nepal.

Fast Food Fact

The amount of food in HHI’s relief shipment could provide 6,788 people with 3 meals a day for a week, or 1,697 people with 3 meals/day for a month.


WMI loading supplies

Water treatment systems from Water Missions International being loaded in Charleston, SC, bound first for HHI’s Operations Hub, then on to Nepal.

Because of our longstanding relationship with FedEx, we were in the position to help other aid agencies get their own relief supplies into Nepal.  For Samaritan’s Purse and Water Missions International, we shipped an additional 26,000 pounds of supplies, mostly systems and materials to provide clean water.


Water Missions International – We shipped 12 complete water treatment systems for WMI, each providing up to 10,000 gallons of clean water per day.

Samaritan’s Purse – We moved 5,000 pounds of personal water filters, water storage bladders, collapsible jerry cans and Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) to Nepal for this organization.

IEHK Nepal Depot

A portion of the Interagency Emergency Health Kit for HHI’s medical team is staged in a depot after arriving from the Netherlands.

Fast Fact

The IEHK contains enough medicine and supplies to provide healthcare for up to 10,000 people for a period of three months.

As our medical team was enroute to Nepal, a large amount of medicine to treat a lot of people was on the way too.  The Interagency Emergency Health Kit (IEHK) is a prepackaged emergency medical kit we purchased from a medical supplier in the Netherlands to support our team’s work.  Once our team had completed its mission on the ground, we donated the remaining supplies of the IEHK to the International Medical Corps, an NGO that we’ve worked with for years, including in Liberia during the Ebola epidemic response.

And moving all of these supplies to the other side of the world for us – our partners at FedEx.  Here’s a great infograph put together at the height of the response, highlighting the large amount of aid ferried from one side of the globe to the other.

FedEx Nepal Infogfx

Summing up the numbers – in the weeks following the Nepal Earthquake we shipped 87 pallets of medicine, disaster supplies and food.

HHI’s total to date –  29 tons of relief aid sent to help the people of Nepal.


Nepal: A Father Seeks Help for His 8 Year Old Girl

When the earthquake shook the Himalayas, eight-year-old Pria’s home fell on top of her.   She survived, but her leg was badly injured.  Our team in Nepal had just finished seeing patients for the day when Pria’s father carried her up to our team, asking for help.

Pria 1

Pria and her family live high in the Himalayas, higher up than where our medical team has been based in the village of Thampalchap.  Just to reach this location, it’s several hours by car and a couple more hours by foot from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu.  This is a remote and rugged land.  Pria’s father had carried her on his back, hiking four hours to reach our team. 

IMG_2634Our team had also hiked to this location.  To reach this village, the team backpacked in, carrying everything needed to survive in the mountains and carrying all of the supplies needed to run medical clinics.




As it happened, our medical team had already seen a few dozen patients this day and had finished when Pria arrived on her father’s back.  Our team took care of her, of course, seeing to her injured leg, providing the medical care she needed.


IMG_2636Pria was just one of so many people we helped in Nepal following the earthquake.

Help us help more.

Nepal: Medical Team Heads Into Remote Mountain Region

Our response team in Nepal is currently en route to a remote district at the foot of the Himalayas.  It’s in the Sindupalchok region, an area hard hit by the earthquake, where medical care is desperately needed.  Dr. Gary Morsch, HHI founder, is on the team, and sent the following email before heading out.

buddhist prayer flags

Dr. Gary Morsch: We’re loading up the three 4-wheel-drive vehicles right now.  I’ll send some photos when I can.  We’ll be wending our way through the Himalayas northwards towards Tibet and eastward toward the Mt. Everest region. After a long drive, the 7-person medical team will trek on up to an area called Thanpalkot.  This was the area HHI was assigned to, and the military has been trying to fly us to for the last two days.

We had told the officials a day ago that we would be willing to drive and trek to this area, and we began getting everything ready to do that.  At yesterday’s UN meeting, the WHO director told the gathered NGO leaders that the military would not be flying any more personnel, but were instead going to use their aircraft to deliver food and water.  I can certainly understand, since food and water are a higher level of need than medical care.

They used Heart to Heart International as an example of a group that was willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.  He said he’s tired of hearing complaints from various groups complaining about their need for water, or food, or medical supplies, or transportation.  He said that if you can’t do what HHI is doing, and be completely self-sufficient, you should go home!

deployment gear

So we’ve got two weeks of dehydrated food, water, water purification equipment, tents, sleeping bags, tarps, and hundreds of pounds of medicines and medical supplies, and they’re being loaded as I type this.  We will drive as far as the road goes, and then hire local Sherpa porters to help us carry our gear up the mountain to Thanpalkot.  They have sent one person from the local community of Thanpalkot who had come down to Kathmandu before the earthquake, and who will be our guide to lead us up the mountain.  Julie Hefner, our country director, and I have packed an overnight pack and depending on how long all this takes, may try to hike up the mountain with the team, and return the next day to the road, and then head back to Kathmandu.

We’ve also found a terrific translator.  He’s a Nepali-American officer in the U.S. Army who has taken an emergency leave and is volunteering full time with our group.  In addition to his translating, he’s now him in charge of our security.
Well, I need to go. Have a wonderful Sunday!  Thank you again, for all your support!


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Medical Supplies to Help Thousands en route to Nepal

A very large amount of medicine and supplies is on the way to Nepal for our medical team to use to treat survivors of the earthquake.


Heart to Heart International is shipping an Interagency Emergency Health Kit – IEHK –  to our team on the ground in Nepal.  The IEHK was purchased from IMRES, a company based in the Netherlands, and is a prepackaged emergency medical kit with enough medicine and supplies to provide healthcare for up to 10,000 people for a period of three months. 

The IEHK for our Nepal Earthquake Relief is sponsored by FedEx, as well as our Medical Team’s mobile clinic equipment which will be arriving in Nepal shortly.  The IEHK is expected to arrive in Nepal Saturday, May 2, ready to be pulled off the pallets and delivered into the field.


Please continue to support Nepal Earthquake Relief.

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First Images from HHI Advance Team in Nepal

Our Advance Team has reached Nepal and is already at work coordinating our Nepal Earthquake Relief response, preparing the way for our Medical Team which will arrive soon.

Advance Team 1

Because of the earthquake damage, internet communications are sporadic.  But our team was able to send back a few images of what it looks like on the ground in Nepal.

These pics are from the village of Kokona.  Dr. Gary Morsch tells us there were about 20 deaths from the earthquake here.  The village is essentially deserted, with those remaining sleeping outdoors due to the fear of more earthquakes.  There was another aftershock here, which our team felt.

Advance Team 2Passing by this alleyway, our team learned that five people had perished in the collapse of this home.


Advance Team 3Dr. Morsch explains the photo above: “Delivering rice to a village where we saw so much destruction.  The man in the Scout uniform is the village leader, and he asked for our medical team to come tomorrow.  That means Sue and me, until the full medical team arrives!”

Our medical team – two doctors, three nurses and a paramedic – are scheduled to arrive Friday in Nepal.

Please support our Nepal Earthquake Relief response.

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Advance Team Departs for Nepal

Our advance team is on the way to Nepal.  They will lay the groundwork for our medical team to arrive two days later, ready to provide aid to the survivors of the Nepal Earthquake.

Gary departs 3

Our Advance Team is a three-person team – a doctor, a nurse and another HHI staff member.  All three are departing from different points on the globe.  In these photos, Dr. Gary Morsch, founder of HHI, is seen departing from the Kansas City airport.  The team’s nurse, Sue Mangicaro, is leaving from New Jersey.  And Julie Hefner, just recently our Liberia country director, is flying out of Monrovia, Liberia – all three bound for Kathmandu, and the earthquake disaster zone.

Gary departs 1

As he was departing from Kansas City, HHI’s hometown and HQ location, Dr. Morsch had the honor of hauling giant bags of supplies to check in for the flight, beyond his own personal gear.  This ‘luggage’ contains medical supplies, medicine and quite a bit of work and camping equipment – tents, sleeping bags and mats, gloves, water filtration and satellite phones – gear needed for a team to operate in a disaster zone.

Gary departs 5

Our medical team is made up of two doctors and four nurses.  They are packing right now and will arrive two days behind the advance team, ready to hit the ground and begin providing medical care to earthquake survivors.

You can help with Nepal Earthquake Relief.  Please give as you can.

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photos by Peggy Breit & KMBC-TV9