Hurricane Ida makes landfall – HHI responds

August 31, 2021 – Early on August 31, Heart to Heart International deployed its Mobile Medical Unit and advance team of medical and logistics personnel to respond to the damage caused by Hurricane Ida. The team has tetanus vaccines, medications, medical supplies and hygiene kits to help people who have been impacted by this storm.


August 29, 2021 – Hurricane Ida became a Category 4 storm early Sunday morning, rapidly intensifying to sustained winds of 150 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane has quickly increased in intensity, threatening to be an “extremely dangerous major hurricane” when it makes its projected landfall along the Louisiana coast Sunday afternoon — on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The National Hurricane Center is warning of damaging winds, life-threatening storm surge, and heavy rainfall. Residents who have not evacuated are advised to shelter in place.

Heart to Heart International has responded to hurricanes in this area in the past, including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Laura last year. The disaster response team has been reaching out to partner clinics and organizations in the area to determine what help will be needed. We are monitoring the storm and are prepared to respond.

We need your help to help people in need!

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HHI Responds to Hurricane Matthew

Thiotte, Haiti

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Hurricane Matthew pounded Haiti with 145 mph winds and 50 ft. waves. The devastation and injuries are significant, and Heart to Heart International is already responding on the south coast of Haiti where the storm was most intense. Our Haitian medical teams are already there providing help to those injured.

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Haitians greet one of our medical teams as they arrive! Watch the video, here!

The storm’s tidal surge flooded coastal towns and destroyed homes. 546 deaths & 438 injured as a result of the hurricane.

Our U.S. disaster response team is in Haiti and will provide more urgently needed medical support to the hardest hit areas.

FloodedPictureHHI needs your financial support to mount this response. We’ve sent 6 teams of 8 – 10 doctors, PA’s, NP’s, nurses, EMT’s, paramedics, and social workers in by helicopter since many roads and bridges are impassible. We have helped over 9,000 patients as of October. Our medical teams are bringing the most injured out to hospitals where they can receive lifesaving care. But this is expensive and we need our donors to help us in this response.

Please donate immediately!

Tragically, cholera has broken out, and our teams are seeing more and more cholera patients each day.

100% of designated donations (this includes associated overhead expenses) will go to this particular crisis

TouchNet waives all credit card fees so your donation will have the biggest impact possible!

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Emergency Response: Hurricane Matthew – Haiti Recovery

It has now been over a month since Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti. We have moved from disaster response mode to recovery. Over 10,000 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 the health situation. 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.

Cholera Treatment Unit – Marfranc, Haiti

The cholera treatment unit was damaged in the storm and we have it rebuilt.  Besides patching up the roof, most of the items inside need to be replaced to make it a functioning center. We are also restoring the medical clinic that was totally destroyed in the hurricane.

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Haitians waiting to see doctors & to get medicine in Anse-à-Pitres, Haiti.

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Dr. Gary Morsch, founder of HHI, directs first responders in Haiti. 

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 Stories

October 22, 2016 
By: Jim Mitchum

 

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HHI-Haiti has been assigned to Marfranc by MSPP (the MOH) to repair and operate a Cholera Treatment Unit and a Primary Care Clinic. Both facilities were damaged during the hurricane, and we have already sent a repair crew to work on the CTU. After it is repaired, we will hire a Haitian team to run the CTU…expected to take 23 people to run it. Those will be local Haitian docs and nurses (nurses primarily).

The clinic building, more heavily damaged, will take more time and money to return to working order.  In the meantime, we are operating a mobile clinic in Marfranc with a Haitian medical team and will be holding mobile clinics around that commune (23,000 people). The duration of our assignment is 3 months but could be extended.

October 20th, 2016

 By: John Caron

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I’m posting this on my way home from 35,000 feet. What a strange world we find ourselves in where this is possible. Just two days ago our team was running a clinic out of a rustic schoolhouse in a remote area of Haiti only accessible by SUV. Equally strange is that at this time tomorrow I will be working in a modern emergency department back in the U.S. What a glaring disparity in resources and privilege.

Our group’s final days in Haiti were very busy. We split into two small teams before being dispatched to separate and remote locations. The team I was with set up clinic in a schoolhouse in the village of Leon. On our final day we treated around 60 patients.

The last few days in Haiti were a little hectic at times with more challenging cases as we gained access to areas with little or no previous access to healthcare. We came upon diseases which, as a result of easy access to care and immunizations, are rarely seen in the U.S. A patient with tetanus who we were able to start care for before transporting him in the back of our SUV to the hospital in Jeremie. A woman with elephantiasis who we fortunately had appropriate medications to treat. So many others with varying problems, acute and chronic, that hopefully our presence helped.

The people who call Haiti home are amazing.

Resilient in the face of adversity while still maintaining a willingness to smile and laugh. Some of our patients walked as much as five hours to be seen in our clinic. I am humbled by their spirit, resourcefulness and tenacity.

I am honored and grateful to have found myself with an amazing team of nurses, doctors and paramedics. We lived, ate, traveled and worked together in some very challenging and often uncomfortable conditions. Not only did we all get along but we came away as friends. I would deploy again with any member of this team in a heartbeat.

Thank you to Heart to Heart International for making this deployment a reality and making it possible to provide the care we did. An undertaking like this is challenging when you have several weeks to prepare and plan. They pulled it together and put us on the ground in Haiti in a couple of days!

October 17th, 2016

By: Sue Mangicaro

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The HHI medical team is working in Marfranc at the local police station and a church.

They have transported two patients to downtown Jeremie for further medical care, including a cholera patient and a patient with very severe tetanus.

Our staff transportation vehicle also serves as a makeshift ambulance. Even after a week, we are still seeing many injured by Hurricane Matthew.

October 14th, 2016
By: Community Health Workers

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“Marie, a 22-year-old mother of three, lives in small community and had her house was totally destroyed. Marie had extremely bad pain in her chest, and unable to feed her sons & herself, was losing hope. Her twin sons were also suffering from illness. Kore Fanmi community health workers found Marie right before Hurricane Matthew hit. The community workers took her to a medical clinic, where she received care for herself & babies. Everyone is recovering now and doing fine. Special thanks to the Kore Fanmi team! Bring Hope to Haiti!”

Kore Fanmi is a network of multidisciplinary agents that is considered by many experts to be the closest network to the families, helping them to regain their self-esteem, and reestablishing the social pact between services providers, Haitian Government and the communities

“Kore Fanmi” (meaning family support) is a UNICEF and Heart to Heart International joint project in the Sud-Est.


 

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Surveying Erika Damage in Dominica

Our team on the island of Dominica has gotten an up-close look at the damage caused by Tropical Storm Erika.  The island nation’s government called for help. Heart to Heart International was the only international NGO to respond.

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Residents view what remains of a bridge washed away by flash floods caused by Tropical Storm Erika.

 

When Erika struck Dominica, she dropped 15 inches of rain, causing flash flooding and mudslides on the tiny, mountainous Caribbean island. More than 30 people were killed and 35 people remain missing.   While Erika was only a tropical storm, it caused major issues for this small island with a population just more than 70,000.

The governments of Venezuela, Martinique and Guadeloupe responded with heavy equipment and personnel to help clear roads and the island’s main airport.  Cuba responded with a large team of medical responders.  The British Royal Air Force is also assisting, as is the US Coast Guard.

And as our team learned, so far, HHI is the only international non-governmental organization (NGO) to respond to the disaster. On the ground, our team is coordinating with the Dominica Ministry of Health and with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) from the UN.

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In Coulibistre, Dominica, residents place their belongings outside to dry in the Caribbean sun after Erika’s rains flooded their homes.

 

HHI is providing a relief shipment of Heart to Heart Care Kits, requested by the Dominica Ministry of Health, and is already en route, transported by our global partner FedEx.

Support Relief Aid for Dominica & Keep HHI Prepared for the Next Storm

The storm’s effect will long be felt in Dominica and residents have a long road of rebuilding ahead.  As HHI is committed to help people in crisis, we’re honored to be able to assist in this relief effort.

See more photos from our team in Dominica…

A local newspaper sums up the feelings of the people of Dominica toward Tropical Storm Erika.

A local newspaper sums up the feelings of the people of Dominica toward Tropical Storm Erika.

 

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A muddy mess left behind in Dominica thanks to Tropical Storm Erika’s floods and mudslides.

 

Two Erika survivors

Two women recount the tale of Erika flooding this home. Notice the dried mud below their feet, and the mud and high-water mark on the far wall.

 

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Streets in Dominica are clogged by mud and dirt from mudslides caused by Tropical Storm Erika.

 

Photos by Josh Jakobitz / HHI

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Katrina: 10 Years Later

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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.

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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.

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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.

Katrina refugees in Houston

Thoughts from Hurricane Sandy

Heart to Heart International has now shifted into Phase II of our Hurricane Sandy response in the Northeast. While we continue to work with partners to coordinate aid deliveries, our Mobile Medical Unit has now returned to HQ after three weeks of service to New York residents affected by the Superstorm.
The MMU was already rolling before Sandy made landfall, and once it had arrived in Long Island, it was plugged into the overall relief effort, first being used at Red Cross shelters housing Southshore evacuees.
For a week and a half, volunteer doctors, nurses and medics made the MMU their office away from office, seeing dozens of patients for various ailments.
Then, once the shelters began to consolidate, the Unit was placed at a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Far Rockaway, Queens, the scene of much devastation, and for another week and a half was used by more medical personnel to treat area residents.
I asked some of the med staff and Heart to Heart volunteers to jot down some of their thoughts as they worked with HHI just days after the storm. A few excerpts follow.
DW HHI


 

 

There are so many people in need… Everything from newborn babies, sore throats, ordering meds for patients who need their prescriptions, narcotic withdrawal, staple removal, Coumadin level checks… just at the Manhasset shelter. I had scribbled on a piece of paper a list of meds I wanted, epi pen, Benadryl, Advil, Tylenol. The next morning I was told my van had arrived with my supplies. I walked outside expecting a box (I was so excited) and could not believe what I saw. It was the Heart to Heart Mobile Medical Unit! Two stretchers, portable monitors, EKG machine, a wall full of meds, a list of meds I wanted to order and they arrived the next day! THIS ORGANIZATION IS AMAZING!!! Stop by Manhasset High and check it out!!!
– Lisa Lynch, CRNA – Nassau Co Medical Reserve Corps

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I am a volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps providing medical care for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Being able to volunteer my time has been such an incredible experience. Some of these people have lost everything and to be able to give them hope for the future is so rewarding. I am so thankful… Heart to Heart International is available for the community. I don’t know where these people would be without them.
The first day I was here we did not have the Heart to Heart International Mobile Medical Unit so we had to make due with what we had. I was able to see what a difference having the clinic made to the quality of medical care that the patients who needed our help received. The patients were now able to be supplied with medications and check up for those with Diabetes and Hypertension. We were able to give them the care that they deserve.
Jessica Stein PA-C, Family Practice and Pediatric Urgent Care

It has been a remarkable experience, and a great pleasure, to provide assistance to Long Island area residents affected by Sandy. I volunteer with Heart to Heart International and am part of the team that arrived… with the Mobil Medical Unit filled with medical supplies and care kits for those in need. The Red Cross medical teams that we have partnered with have been so grateful for the meds we had on board and immediately available; it was like watching little kids on Christmas morning when they first came aboard the MMU.
Helping these great volunteers utilize the MMU and serve so many in need in these first few days following the storm has been a real blessing for me. We have provided a unique place for the medical personnel to examine, treat and bring peace of mind to the residents of the shelter, and I am proud to say I was able to be a tiny part of that kindness.
– Phil Meiers, Heart to Heart International, volunteer MMU driver

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On Monday October 29, Hurricane Sandy made landfall. Our community of Manhasset, New York was badly affected. On Tuesday the American Red Cross set up a shelter at our local high school. The shelter held 300 clients. The outpouring of relief help has been overwhelming! From the incredible staff at Heart to Heart – Dan, Warren, and Phil – who with their compassion, stamina and huge hearts made such a difference in the lives of so many.
We are all so blessed for what we have and for the generosity of so many angels.
– Kathleen, RN

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Tears came to my eyes when I saw the enthusiastic energy of Heart to Heart International as they came rolling up with their level 2 trauma facility to this shelter. Clients didn’t want to go to an ER for treatment because they didn’t want to be separated from each other, after losing their homes and all their belongings, they were willing to risk having no medical care to stay with their families.

With Heart to Heart International, it was like, if the client wouldn’t go to the medical mountain the medical mountain came to them. As days went by I saw smiles come to theses beautiful displaced faces of our clients as they started to feel medically better and knew that there were people out there that truly cared about them. When the parents felt better – the children felt better and the energy of hope was resurrected.
Dan, Warren and Phil, with Heart to Heart, came from Kansas City to New York… and brought the gift of humanity, hope, caring and medical security… these guys are our angels. We could never have done what we did without them. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And may you forever be blessed with a trail of sunshine wherever you go!
– Dr. Valerie Mokides, pediatrician

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Mapping Sandy Relief Effort

Explore the map above, or here to see the larger map with more info and photos, to see where Heart to Heart’s initial response is bringing aid and relief. Click on the placemarks to see more.

Heart to Heart is still on-scene in Long Island, a week after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Mid-Atlantic states.  We have been shipping Care Kits & water to several locations in both New Jersey and New York, where partners then distribute the aid to hard-hit areas.

 

 

 

 

We are also in Nassau County, Long Island with our Mobile Medical Unit.  It is serving as a busy ER, at a Red Cross shelter at the Manhasset High School.  Area doctors and nurses continue to rotate through, pulling shifts onboard the MMU.

 

 

 

Responding to Hurricane Sandy…

This is a quick post, to update everyone in the Heart to Heart world on what we’re doing in response to Hurricane Sandy.
The hurricane is over, but the storm continues to churn, affecting so many across a large part of this country.

Currently, supplies, volunteers and HHI staff are converging from three sides, to bring relief and medical aid to those in need along the Eastern Seaboard.

Our Program Director began driving south from New England, where she was attending a conference, as the storm was pounding the Mid-Atlantic.  She’s leading our relief efforts and happened to be near as Sandy threatened.

Yours truly flew to North Carolina to bypass the storm, and is now heading north. And surprisingly, it’s quite cold down here, windy too.  Shows how large of a footprint Sandy has.  Cold clouds still linger.
And volunteers with the Mobile Medical Unit left Kansas City as the storm raged, and is now crossing Pennsylvania after dealing with both rain and snow.

We are communicating with numerous folks involved in the relief effort in the region, from state-level to local partners, and are working with them to determine where Heart to Heart can do the most good upon arrival.

Look for more updates soon here, and on Facebook & Twitter.

DW HHI

Heart to Heart Responds in Haiti

Photo credit: Reuters

New Photos below, just arrived from the town of Belle Anse, on Haiti’s southern coast.  Heart to Heart supports community clinics in the area…

Tropical Storm Isaac has moved on from Haiti, but its effects may long be felt.

Haiti is a country where a large section of the population hangs in the balance.  Their future dictated, many times, by the forces of nature: an earthquake, a tropical cyclone…

Fortunately, Isaac did not do great damage to most of the country, however in the South and in the Southeast he did bring near-hurricane strength winds and torrential rains.  Residents suffered the loss of homes (shelters), their livelihoods in the form of crops, and are now at risk of diseases like cholera rearing their ugly heads once again.

Heart to Heart is uniquely positioned as the lead NGO in the remote and mountainous Southeast District to respond to the needs of residents.  And we are doing just that – Responding!

Currently, Heart to Heart is coordinating with in-country partners to deliver relief supplies, in a replay of the supply chain that helped to stem the outbreak of cholera in this same area in 2010/2011.  And like then, it is imperative that these supplies reach these remote communities.

“There are no other relief groups in those mountains, we’re it,” said Heart to Heart’s Dir. of Operations in Haiti Josh Jakobitz. “And is always the case with diseases like cholera and natural disasters like Isaac, speed is of the essence. If Heart to Heart is able to respond, people live.”

Speed is of the essence.  So is your support.

Note:  Heart to Heart International is also following Isaac’s movement as it pushes into the Gulf of Mexico.  HHI is planning a mobilization to the Gulf Coast, as needed, possibly consisting of humanitarian relief supplies, medical aid and our Mobile Medical Unit.

DW HHI

Heart to Heart CEO on TS Isaac

Here at Heart to Heart we are keeping a watchful eye on Tropical Storm Isaac.  It continues to bear down on Haiti, with its sights set on the Gulf Coast.
Below is a letter, just sent to donors and supporters, from HHI’s CEO Andre Butler as we prepare to mobilize.

DW HHI

Dear Friends,

As of this writing, a tropical cyclone is gathering strength in the Caribbean and churning toward Haiti and eventually the U.S.’s Gulf Coast. The storm is named Isaac, and within hours we will know what damage the storm will bring to Haiti.

We at Heart to Heart International are following these weather developments very closely as we have friends, family and coworkers in Haiti right now in the path of this storm, along with the thousands of Haitians we serve.

Our Haiti staff will ride out this storm. They have made plans and storm preparations, as they continue to oversee the operations of the 12 community clinics we partner with and continue to support with volunteers and with medical aid.
These clinics are found across Haiti: in the capital of Port-au-Prince, in the Leogane area and in the very rural and mountainous SE District. All of these areas are in the path of Isaac and could very well be affected by the storm’s high winds, torrential rain and subsequent flooding.

From there, Isaac has set his sights on the Florida Keys, and then the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama. The storm is predicted to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the mainland.

We are preparing to mobilize the assets we have, including the Mobile Medical Unit, medical aid, volunteers and Heart to Heart Care Kits, to respond as needed.

Our mission in Haiti, our mission in the U.S., is to improve health and to broaden access to healthcare. Isaac may try to disrupt that. But with your continued support and assistance we won’t let it.

Please give now so that we may respond in the wake of Isaac, in both Haiti and the U.S., and prepare for the storms to come.

Sincerely,
Andre Butler
CEO – Heart to Heart International

 

 

 

Here’s how to make a difference now, to help us prepare to respond:

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