Six Months Since Maria
Six months since Hurricane Maria ravaged Dominica, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, many PQMD members are still active in aid & recovery efforts, and will be for years to come.
Hurricane Maria struck Dominica as a Category 5 hurricane on September 18, 2017, making it the first Category 5 hurricane on record to hit the island. The storm then slammed the U.S. Virgin Islands and, on September 20, Maria made landfall as a Category 4 storm in Puerto Rico. Entire islands lost power, most buildings lost all or part of their roofs, and every health center was damaged. In total, the storm officially claimed 64 lives, while many attributed more than 1,000 deaths as a result of related accidents, health crises, illness, and infection.
Working through trusted partnerships, many established by way of membership with PQMD, members remain dedicated to helping the residents of both islands restore their lives and livelihood as best they can to the days before the storm struck on September 18, 2017.
Among some of the first to arrive on the ground following the storm, PQMD members Americares, Direct Relief, International Medical Corps, MAP International, and MedShare remain committed to bringing health and hope to those greatly affected by Hurricane Maria.
- To date, Americares has provided $39 million in aid for Hurricane Maria survivors, including 43 shipments of medicine and relief supplies, mobile care for 1,600 patients and support for 50 local organizations. Going forward, Americares will focus on mental health and psychosocial support services and emergency preparedness to help health care providers better prepare for future storms.
- Direct Relief delivered medicines and supplies worth more than $62.6 million to 60 healthcare facilities caring for survivors in Puerto Rico over the last six months. In addition, more than $1.8 million in cash grants have been provided to locally run organizations to help rebuild local health systems and strengthen their resilience to future emergencies.
- For their part, International Medical Corps continues to focus on health system support in Puerto Rico, providing power, clean water, communications, and cash grants to 26 health facilities and local clinics that serve more than 63,000 people. In Dominica, the focus remains on clean water, where volunteers have provided more than 411,658 liters of water to targeted communities in Dominica, benefitting 1,740 people. Nearly 3,000 hygiene kits have also been distributed to the communities.
- On top of massive early-day support efforts by MAP International, in the last three months, MAP has sent four containers full of antibiotics, oral rehydration therapy, fever reducers, decongestants, bandages, ointments, and water filters. Another three containers are loaded and are ready to be shipped.
- MedShare is continuing to support healthcare partners in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean in response to Hurricane Maria. The organization is coordinating several shipments of medical supplies right now, and will be supporting medical professionals traveling to the region for the foreseeable future.
Multiple corporate PQMD members, to include Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Sanofi, and Amgen, continue to provide support through a combination of partnerships and employee funds.
- Johnson & Johnson has invested in significant long term recovery very projects with a variety of local and global partners. These projects will last as long as three years.
- Merck is actively supporting relief efforts in Puerto Rico. In December, Merck donated 1,320 units (13,200 doses) of Pneumovax for Direct Relief’s mobile clinic, run by Direct Relief’s partner VOCES Puerto Rico, for their island-wide vaccination campaign to close the immunization gap and promote health. In March, Merck donated 200 units (200 doses) of Emend to Project Hope for use in Puerto Rico to support pediatric chemotherapy side effects management. Since December, Merck has donated $1.3 million of product value to support relief and rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico.
- Sanofi Cares North America (previously Sanofi Foundation for North America) donated much needed insulin, tetanus and flu vaccines, as well as other products, through Americares and Direct Relief to assist those in need in Puerto Rico. Sanofi also remains open to receiving requests for product donations and cash grants, as needed, through primary partners (Americares, Direct Relief and Heart to Heart) to aid with their disaster recovery efforts.
- Amgen continues to assist impacted Amgen staff members through the Amgen Staff Disaster Relief Fund, providing grants of $500 – $5,000 (nearly 1,000 employees have been assisted to date), and is conducting a community assessment to determine best utilization of up to $2 million in funding for rebuilding efforts.
To learn more about our members, and how you might become involved with their relief efforts, please visit our PQMD Member page.