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.

Breakdown:

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.

 

Heart to Heart’s Ebola Treatment Unit Opens

While members of our Ebola Response Team have been treating Ebola patients and working in facilities across Liberia for many weeks, Heart to Heart’s own Ebola Treatment Unit has been coming together.
The 50-bed unit has been under construction in the town of Tappita.  And now, just about 90 days from when Heart to Heart declared it would go to Liberia to fight Ebola – the ETU is up and running.

The Ebola Treatment Unit is in Tappita, a town about an 8 hour drive from Liberia’s capital of Monrovia, in Nimba County.  The unit was built here as the town serves as a crossroads in this remote corner of Liberia. HHI took on the responsibility of running an ETU there as part of the coordinated international response to combat the spread of Ebola.  This is just one of several ETUs that are already in operation, or will soon be, across Liberia. The goal was to rapidly expand the capacity to combat the virus.  While the epidemic is still raging in West Africa, the efforts of our team and the greater response is having a positive impact in Liberia.

suspect ward

The ‘suspect’ ward, where patients will await test results to determine whether they have contracted Ebola or another illness.

 

The construction of this Ebola Treatment Unit was managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the 36th Engineering Brigade based in Ft. Hood, Texas. The 50-bed ETU is a large compound, akin to a mobile hospital, with areas for patient triage and large tents for suspect cases and for patient treatment.  It also has ‘back’ areas for staff and for the supplies needed to operate the unit and to treat people with Ebola.  The facility also generates it’s own power thanks to two large diesel generators that allow the ETU to operate 24/7.  

ETU wide

storeroom

Members of our Ebola Response Team take some downtime in the ETU’s supply area.

 

Major funding for the ETU in Tappita comes from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), as well as from generous donations from individuals who continue to help support HHI’s overall operations in Liberia to combat Ebola.

Our team members remain hard at work.  The Ebola Treatment Unit is open.  Progress is being made in the fight against Ebola.  Please continue to support this critical effort.

Donate Now & Help stop Ebola

suspect ward racks

 

NC Doctor Gives Radio Interview on Ebola Fight in Liberia

One of our Ebola Response Team members has returned from Liberia working with Heart to Heart International to combat the Ebola epidemic.
Dr. George Poehlman is a retired family physician living in North Carolina.  He spoke recently to WUNC 91.5, the public radio station in Chapel Hill, NC, about his time on the front lines of the Ebola fight.

poelman1

Dr. George Poehlman (r) with other Ebola Response Team members

 

HHI had contacted Dr. Poehlman to assist in our work in Liberia due to his medical experience and background working overseas.  As he told reporters with WUNC 91.5 he has “experience living and working in Africa, some experience with tropical medicine, and an understanding (of) the culture and the people is critical in the work against Ebola”.

Listen to Dr. Poehlman’s radio interview:

 

In the interview, “Dr. P” discusses some key actions that he sees as making a positive impact in slowing down the epidemic in Liberia.   He talks about the reasons he’s in a voluntary quarantine after returning, even though he’s considered low-risk and the seclusion is not necessary under CDC guidelines.  And he adds that it’s a good way to protect himself from the flu outbreak in the US!  It’s a great interview given by one of our outstanding Ebola Response Team members.  Give a listen.

 

poelman2

Dr. Poehlman was also interviewed by WRAL-TV and said this about his time with Heart to Heart International: “I was trained to take care of people and look out for people and that’s what I did, and I’m pleased to have been there. I was honored. I was humbled.”

 

Our People of the Year

They’ve come from many backgrounds, all walks of life, from the US, Liberia and other countries – all sharing the same goals of saving lives and halting the spread of the Ebola virus.

Mosaic Liberia Staff post

These are our People of the Year, these are our heroes.  These doctors and nurses, logistics specialists, humanitarian aid workers, cooks, security, ambulance drivers and chlorine sprayers  – all who have given their time and talents to step into the hot zone of the Ebola epidemic with Heart to Heart International.  We couldn’t be prouder of their service with us and for humankind.

635537948402977240-Time-cover-cropped

Recently, TIME magazine chose to recognize the heroic efforts of those on the front lines of the Ebola fight, choosing the Ebola Fighters as their “Person of the Year 2014”.  They saw that the people who have chosen to fight the epidemic, that put their lives on the line each and every day to help people and to help stop this terrible disease, are truly heroic in every sense of the word.

We at Heart to Heart recognize the actions of our own Ebola Response Team members – their courageous, valiant efforts.  We know it’s difficult work.  Several have already come face to face with the terrors of the virus.  And we know that we couldn’t tackle this without them.

ERT members in PPE

Our team members are hard at work.  Our Ebola Treatment Unit nears completion.  Progress is being made.  Please continue to support this critical effort.

Donate Now & Help stop Ebola

 

VIDEO: Working Together to Fight Ebola

A new video gives a glimpse into the early days of Heart to Heart International’s Operation Ebola in Liberia and showcases the importance of partnership to combat the Ebola epidemic.

For many weeks, Heart to Heart International CEO Jim Mitchum has been in Liberia overseeing the building of the organizational infrastructure needed to support the opening of an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU).   Along with Country Director Julie Hefner and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rene Vega, our team in Liberia has been putting all the pieces into place, hiring staff, and coordinating with multiple aid agencies as part of the global response to the epidemic.

Watch the video to learn the reasons why HHI has taken on the responsibility of running an ETU.  Hear from our new Liberian staff members about their desire to bring healthcare to their people and why it’s so important that HHI has come to help.  And learn how we’re working in partnership with other NGOs, like the International Medical Corps, to tackle this continuing humanitarian crisis.

 

Video by: Blake Nelson

 

Dispatch from Liberia: Waking up in Ebola Land

Morning breaks muggy and warm with broken clouds signaling that the rainy season is slowly giving way to its dry season doppelgänger. Roosters crow incessantly below my second-story apartment bedroom window, ridiculing anyone who wants a few minutes of extra sleep on a Saturday morning. Life in Monrovia, Liberia is waking up to a new day in Ebola Land.

Dr. Vega in Bong Co, Liberia

HHI Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rene Vega visiting the IMC Ebola Treatment Unit in Bong County, Liberia.

 

It’s an important day for us as Dr. Rene Vega, our chief medical officer, has returned from a week of Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) training with one of our NGO partners, the International Medical Corps, at their Bong county site.  Dr. Vega will be taking a week break from the ETU and working with us in our Monrovia office. He will then return to Bong to gain even more experience in preparation of the opening of our own ETU in a few short weeks in Nimba county, eight hours of rough road from here.

Suiting up in PPE in Bong

International Medical Corps workers help a colleague suit up in PPE, personal protective equipment, inside the ETU in Bong County, Liberia.

 

We are looking forward to getting Rene’s input on the design of the ETU we will be operating. Nothing beats experience when it comes to improving the way the unit will be designed and built. Little details like how patients are brought into the ETU or even the width of a patient shower stall can be helpful in preventing unnecessary exposures and risks. Doctors with many years of training in human anatomy are suddenly being asked to become experts in Ebola treatment unit layouts.

Dr. Vega w IMC program officer

HHI Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rene Vega (left), meets with IMC program director at ETU in Bong County, Liberia.

 

Reports of the number of patients coming to existing ETU’s in Liberia are down suggesting to some that the epidemic may be waning. That is not what the experts believe, nor even the man-on-the-street in Monrovia.  Instead, it is widely thought that people have remained in their homes when showing signs of Ebola rather than heading for an ETU. They naturally fear isolation from their loved ones and the seemingly inhuman nature of being treated by people in body suits where only the medical worker’s eyes are visible, and that through goggles. Fear is palpable.

Staying at home has terrible implications for this disease since home caregivers, almost always members of the patients’ family, usually become the next victims. And so the disease continues, as yet unconfined.  More ETU’s will be built in both the cities and the countryside as this impoverished country seeks to eradicate a virus that is causing panic and fear to spread around the world.

-Jim

 

FedEx Delivers to Front Lines of Ebola Epidemic

Our long-standing relationship with FedEx is a rather special one.  For many years now, the company has helped Heart to Heart International deliver critically needed supplies around the world.
And again FedEx has come through – delivering more of our emergency Ebola supplies to front line health workers in West Africa.

FedEx Ebola Shipment1

As part of Operation Ebola – not only are we in the process of opening an Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia to combat the spread of the virus – we continue to ship supplies to our partners in Liberia who are also on the front lines of the hot zone.

This was featured recently in a story on the FedEx blog, showcasing how their team members provide a product and supply lifeline:

“FedEx leveraged its global network of logistics expertise to move the supplies by truck and by plane from the United States to Europe as part of a special donated shipment. From there, the shipment was moved to its final destination in Liberia.

FedEx is proud to be a part of this effort to help prevent the spread of the Ebola virus and to ensure those in need receive the proper medical care.  FedEx has long-standing relationships with relief organizations around the world. Through these relationships, FedEx is able to assist in situations like this to ship large amounts of supplies to those impacted the most.”

Read about another Heart to Heart shipment FedEx transported a couple of weeks ago to our partners and friends the International Medical Corps in Liberia.

FedEx Ebola Shipment2It’s awesome to see our supplies loaded onto a FedEx cargo plane bound for those in need!

 

HHI’s Ebola Treatment Unit Under Construction in Liberia

The first photos are coming in from the work site in Kakata, Liberia.  The photos are somewhat small thanks to a slow and intermittent internet connection.  But, you can see that work is progressing on our 70-bed Ebola Treatment Unit!  We expect to have it up and running in November.

Workers are busy constructing the visitor area of the new HHI Ebola Treatment Unit in Kakata, Liberia.

 

Digging Latrine Pits

Digging the latrine pits at the new Ebola Treatment Unit in Kakata, Liberia.

 

Triage ETU

The triage area of the Ebola Treatment Unit, where patients will be first checked in.

 

 

Emergency Ebola Supplies Arrive in Liberia

Heart to Heart International’s shipment of emergency medical relief supplies to help fight the spread of Ebola has arrived in Liberia and is already being put to use by our partners the International Medical Corps.

IMC Liberia Supplies 1

International Medical Corps’ Ebola Treatment Unit in Bong County, Liberia receives donations from Heart to Heart International. Photo © International Medical Corps/Stuart J. Sia

 

The shipment originated in our Global Distribution Center in Kansas City – 18 pallets built by HHI staff and volunteers and filled with a variety of supplies like syringes, needles, sharps containers, gloves, masks, medical scrub brushes and more.  These are key items needed on the ground in the fight against the spread of Ebola and for medical care needs.
All of the items were donated by HHI’s corporate partners BD, Abbott, Johnson & Johnson and by one anonymous corporate donor.

IMC Supplies Liberia 2

Unloading a truck’s worth of supplies shipped by Heart to Heart International. Photo © International Medical Corps/Stuart J. Sia

 

IMC Supplies Liberia 3

Boxes filled with thousands of syringes provided by BD and shipped by Heart to Heart International are unloaded in Bong County, Liberia. Photo © International Medical Corps/Stuart J. Sia

 

The supplies were shipped via our global transportation partner FedEx – first by truck, then by plane, from the US to Europe and then down to Monrovia, Liberia in West Africa.

IMC Liberia Supplies 4

A member of the International Medical Corps surveys the delivery of critical medical supplies. Photo © International Medical Corps/Stuart J. Sia

 

IMC Liberia Supplies 5

Supplies are stacked in storage near IMC’s Ebola Treatment Unit. Photo © International Medical Corps/Stuart J. Sia

 

Once the supplies arrived in Liberia the International Medical Corps loaded them onto another truck and drove them several hours into the interior of Liberia to its storage facility at Cuttington University in Bong County, near its Ebola Treatment Unit.

IMC Liberia Supplies 6

HHI & the IMC working together to provide care and to meet the medical needs of the people of Liberia. Photo © International Medical Corps/Stuart J. Sia

 

So very glad that HHI can provide critical supplies to those on the front lines of the Ebola fight – and it’s great to see the efforts of so many, including donors & volunteers, making a difference where it’s needed most!

 

At the Front End of the World’s Response to Ebola

Dr. Gary Morsch, founder of Heart to Heart International, is a member of HHI’s Advance Team in West Africa.  The team has gone to Liberia, the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak, to determine how HHI can respond further to stop this terrible virus.
What follows is an excerpt from Dr. Morsch’s journal, written as the team traveled in Liberia, meeting with other aid organizations and visiting Ebola treatment centers.

Gary in Liberia

Members of the HHI Advance Team, Dr. Gary Morsch (dark blue shirt) and Julie Hefner (with notebook), visit the ELWA Hospital and Ebola Treatment Center in Paynesville, a suburb of Monrovia, Liberia.

 

Gary Morsch, MD:  Once again, Heart to Heart International is responding to a global disaster.  But this crisis is unlike any other in modern times.  It’s Ebola, one of the world’s most dreaded diseases. Ebola means nearly certain death – a terrible, painful death, with profuse bleeding both internally and externally. That’s why it’s called Hemorrhagic Fever.  Though there have been sporadic outbreaks since the disease was first identified in 1976, this is by far, the largest outbreak of this virus in history.  Ebola, with mortality rates that can approach 90% and with no effective treatment or cure, is perhaps the most feared of all infectious diseases.

This unprecedented epidemic is located in a handful of West African countries, with Liberia taking the brunt of it.  To date, nearly 7,000 have been infected, and more than 3,000 have died.  Experts are panicking because the disease is growing exponentially, literally day by day, with fears that it could pass a point in which it would be unmanageable. The only hope is to get control of the Ebola epidemic quickly, and turn the tide before it gets out of control.

Why is HHI involved? It’s what we do. When there’s a significant crisis anywhere in the world, we ask ourselves if there is an effective and appropriate role that we can play. Our strengths are built on two pillars.

First, we have developed one of the most effective logistics systems in the world.  Because of our reputation for delivering high quality products to the most remote places on earth, pharmaceutical and medical companies donate about $100 million dollars of pharmaceuticals and supplies to HHI each year.  These are shipped in a timely manner primarily through our transportation partner, FedEx. In this current crisis, HHI has already shipped in 18 pallets of medical supplies that are being used to treat Ebola patients by our partners the International Medical Corps. More is about to leave our warehouse.

Our second strength is our network of volunteers, both medical and non-medical. This is part of why we’ve traveled to Liberia. In addition to the medicines and supplies we’re delivering, we are asking:  is there an opportunity to effectively and safely use medical volunteers in this current crisis?  We shall soon find out!

 


 

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