Hurricane Sandy caused devastation when it struck Haiti in late October 2012, affecting millions of people still recovering from the 2010 earthquake and the ongoing cholera crisis.
International Medical Corps has been responding to the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable communities in Haiti since the hurricane struck. With the support of the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), International Medical Corps is now operating Mobile Medical Units (MMUs), which were deployed to support the health needs of the population across the whole of the South Department of Haiti.
These MMUs offer up to 70 consultations per day, providing emergency medical and primary health care services to some of the most vulnerable people in the country. The MMUs also act as distribution points for hygiene kits, shelter equipment and essential goods such as blankets, clean containers for water, cooking items and soap. By distributing these basic items, International Medical Corps aims to help more than 1,000 families recover from the effects of the hurricane and move them towards self reliance.
Our holistic approach to mitigating the health impact of hurricane Sandy on vulnerable populations means that International Medical Corps will also support the rehabilitation of the water supply system in Aquin district of Haiti. Strong winds during the hurricane resulted in a tree collapsing onto the pipes that provide the main source of clean, fresh water to more than 94,000 people in the District. Local people are currently taking water from a nearby creek, which is not a safe water supply. Cases of diarrheal disease and cholera have sharply increased in recent weeks.
With the generous support of DFID, International Medical Corps will work with the local Haitian authorities to re-establish a safe water supply to the District. To complement these actions, our water and sanitation experts will provide hygiene promotion activities that include the distribution of Aquatabs for sterilizing water. Taken together, this will bring down the number of people at risk of cholera and water related diseases, protecting thousands of vulnerable Haitians from sickness and death.
International Medical Corps has operated in Haiti since 2010 when our teams were on the ground treating patients within 22 hours of the earthquake. Following a comprehensive emergency response, we implemented long-term programs in Haiti including cholera treatment, primary health care, water and sanitation, and disaster preparedness. Today we are focused on training local health workers to help rebuild Haiti’s health infrastructure.