Hurricane Ian

We are responding to
Hurricane Ian in Florida

Hurricane Ian made landfall on the southwest coast of Florida in late September as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 150+ mph and an historic storm surge, heavy rains and extensive flooding that has cost billions in damages and so far taken about 130 lives. At the request of the state, International Medical Corps is responding.

Tens of thousands are living in shelters, while thousands remain without power and clean water. Search-and-rescue activities are continuing as flood waters recede, but damage to healthcare infrastructure is extensive, especially in counties where large numbers of the population are elderly and were unable to flee the storm.

The Florida Department of Health asked International Medical Corps to deploy a mobile medical unit and clinical team that is providing outpatient services to up to 100 patients per day. We also are assessing the mental health needs of those affected by the storm, as well as those of their caregivers.

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Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, September 28, as a Category 4 hurricane, with storm surges of 12 to 18 feet along the coastal Fort Myers area.
About 130 deaths in Florida have so far been attributed to Hurricane Ian, while search-and-rescue efforts continue.
Hundreds of thousands in the state remain without power, while boil-water notices have been issued across 22 counties.
Thousands of state residents currently are living in temporary shelters.
International Medical Corps, with a long history of responding to natural disasters in the Americas, has deployed a mobile medical unit in Florida to provide urgently needed healthcare.

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Our Response

Medical Care

Health needs in the wake of the storm continue to evolve, but priority concerns include the spread of infectious diseases, increased mental health needs and disrupted treatment of existing medical conditions. Because residents whose homes have been destroyed are living in crowded conditions such as shelters, there is a higher risk of COVID-19, monkeypox, influenza, vector-borne diseases and more. In addition, the emotional distress experienced by survivors losing livelihoods and loved ones will increase mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) needs in the state.

Port Charlotte and the broader Charlotte County have a significant number of retirees, with a median age of over 60 in 2021. Although Charlotte County Emergency Management ordered mandatory evacuations for the area and opened emergency shelters for those not able to evacuate, the needs in Charlotte County are significant. Affected communities include high numbers of elderly and medically vulnerable individuals whose health has been compromised, as ongoing treatment and access to critical medications have been disrupted for days.

At the request of the Florida Department of Health (FDoH), International Medical Corps is deploying a mobile medical unit (MMU) to Port Charlotte, one of the hardest-hit areas along the Gulf coast. The MMU will be run by International Medical Corps staff and a team of volunteer clinical staff comprising three doctors, six nurses and a medical coordinator, and will provide outpatient services meeting communities’ urgent medical needs, with the capacity to see up to 100 patients per day.

Mental Health

International Medical Corps is assessing the ability to provide mental health and psychosocial support services to meet the urgent needs of local residents. Current identified needs include those in shelters, as well as the frontline staff supporting emergency response efforts, many of whom have been personally affected by the disaster.

Humanitarian Supplies and Equipment

International Medical Corps teams have prepositioned and are ready to distribute critical relief supplies, including tarps, generators, solar lamps, hygiene kits and drinking water. We are coordinating with the FDoH, the state Emergency Operations Center and our federally qualified healthcare center partners to coordinate response efforts.

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