Hurricane Matthew: International Medical Corps Responded to Health and Emergency Needs in Southwestern Haiti
International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team was on the ground in southwestern Haiti less than 48 hours after Hurricane Matthew made landfall, providing emergency relief and medical care, including cholera treatment and prevention, in some of the areas hardest hit by the major Category 4 storm that hit the island on October 4, 2016.
The storm also exacerbated the spread of cholera, a disease that can be deadly if left untreated. Approximately 9,600 suspected cholera cases were reported between October 4 and December 7, including 2,300 cases in Sud and 2,250 in Grand’Anse. International Medical Corps operated a 26-bed cholera treatment center (CTC) in Les Anglais in Sud department and a second facility in Cavaillon. Additionally, we established 13 oral rehydration points in villages around around Les Anglais and Tiburon.
We also supported Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population’s (MSPP) oral cholera vaccination campaign, through which approximately 729,000 people were vaccinated. We provided operational support for the campaign, including payment and logistics for vaccinators, monitoring and evaluation capacity. In addition, we are operating seven mobile medical units focused on reaching remote and isolated communities, traveling by foot, canoe, and any means necessary to deliver health care and vital relief supplies.
In addition to our Emergency Response Team’s Hurricane Matthew activities, our Haiti Country Team continues to implement ongoing health, nutrition, and WASH programs in Nord, Nord-este, Artibonite, and Ouest departments.
International Medical Corps’ emergency response team (ERT) is delivering health as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance in Sud and Grand’Anse, two of the departments most affected by Hurricane Matthew. Our programs include a broad range of services, including Mobile Medical Units, cholera treatment and prevention, and water, sanitation and hygiene activities.
Mobile Medical Units
International Medical Corps operates seven mobile medical teams in Sud and Grand’Anse to deliver health care services to populations with limited or decreased access to health facilities as a result of the storm. This has included at times hiking for hours or traveling by canoe to reach cut-off and remote areas. Since October, the teams have delivered more than 8,400 medical consultations.
Hurricane Matthew caused extensive damage to health and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure as well as flooding—conditions that have worsened Haiti’s ongoing cholera outbreak. In cooperation with Haitian health authorities, International Medical Corps opened a cholera treatment unit (CTU) in Les Anglais in the Sud department. Based at the Les Anglais health center, the CTU has an in-patient capacity for 26 people and is detecting, isolating, and treating people for cholera. International Medical Corps has also established 13 oral rehydration points (ORPs) in villages around Les Anglais and Tiburon and is working to set up another cholera treatment facility in Cavaillon.
International Medical Corps supported the largest-ever emergency oral cholera vaccination (OCV) campaign, together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Government of Haiti, and others that will target hundreds of thousands of people across seven communes in Sud and nine communes in Grand’Anse departments. International Medical Corps provided technical and operational assistance to the campaign, including payments and logistics for vaccinators, monitoring and evaluation support, community outreach, and other activities.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Our Emergency Response Team is improving WASH conditions in six schools in use as temporary shelters around Les Cayes and Les Anglais, preparing water systems and installing water tanks to improve access to safe water. The team also repaired and rehabilitated existing sanitation facilities. Hygiene promotion and awareness activities are ongoing daily in five shelters to promote improved hygiene practices, cholera prevention, and safe handling of food.
Additional detail available in the Situation Reports below.
The relief provided to those affected by Hurricane Matthew is in addition to International Medical Corps’ ongoing support for those in need in northern and western Haiti. The organization responded to the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010 and later that year to Hurricane Tomas and an outbreak of cholera.
A preeminent first responder for more than three decades, International Medical Corps has extensive experience providing medical care and other lifesaving relief in the aftermath of disasters, including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.