Global First Responder International Medical Corps Responds to U.S. Hurricane Season

As a global leader in emergency response for almost 35 years, International Medical Corps is ready for disaster wherever it strikes—whether at home or abroad. In recent weeks, two major hurricanes, Florence and Michael, have wreaked havoc in U.S. communities. For both disasters, International Medical Corps mobilized rapid medical assistance to reach those most in need, with critical support from PQMD partners AbbVie, Americares, Amgen, Heart to Heart International, Merck and Pfizer.

In September, International Medical Corps deployed a mobile medical clinic to meet urgent needs in some of the hardest-hit areas of North Carolina following Hurricane Florence. Just a few weeks later, Hurricane Michael—the strongest hurricane to hit the continental United States in 50 years—ravaged the Florida Panhandle. Within 48 hours of a request from Florida’s Department of Health for support, International Medical Corps had mobilized some 50 medical volunteer and emergency response staff to provide assistance in medical facilities and special-needs shelters across northern Florida—including in one of the hardest-hit areas, Bay County.

An International Medical Corps staffer comforts a patient at a Hurricane Michael shelter in Florida. (Photo courtesy International Medical Corps)

Wind, flooding and power outages from hurricanes create a range of emergency medical needs, including lack of medications for chronic conditions, infection of open wounds, lack of access to clean water and the potential for transmission of waterborne diseases. In addition to providing primary healthcare to those affected by the storm, International Medical Corps volunteers gave local first responders the opportunity to rest and attend to their own losses in the wake of the devastating hurricane.

As relief turns toward long-term recovery and many shelters transition back into schools, International Medical Corps continued to provide 24/7 medical care in a major shelter in Tampa for patients with special needs, while working with other federally qualified health centers in Florida to serve the most vulnerable populations.

International Medical Corps has a breadth of experience delivering emergency relief in difficult environments, and is experienced at getting people and supplies to places that are hard-hit, often where communications are down. During a sudden-onset disaster, International Medical Corps can provide emergency medical relief, including volunteer doctors and nurses, medical supplies, mobile medical clinics, and a modular, portable field hospital. We also work with local First Responders to support and help restore local health systems, which can be offline or significantly impaired after a natural disaster.

Our PQMD partners are key to providing such services. We will continue to work together to help communities in the U.S. recover from these recent storms, while remaining ready to respond to the next crisis—anytime and anywhere it hits.

Hear more about the situation on the ground in Florida from International Medical Corps’ U.S. Emergency Response Lead, Trevor Rhodes, here.