As the full scale of Hurricane Harvey becomes clear, Project HOPE is responding to the devastating impact of the disaster in Texas, which has left tens of thousands homeless and caused historic floods that have damaged health systems in some of the state’s key cities and residential areas.
HOPE is partnering with Team Rubicon, a disaster response organization that pairs the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders and medical professionals. Team Rubicon has experts on the ground conducting water rescue services in Houston and surrounding areas and is coordinating with local authorities to assess needs in flooded areas.
“This disaster is overwhelming and the need for food, water and shelter is growing by the hour. The health care infrastructure is struggling to treat victims because many hospitals have been damaged due to flooding, roadways are impassable for patients and health workers, and we anticipate that the health needs of people crammed into shelters will increase rapidly,” said Dr. Tom Kenyon, M.D., M.P.H., of Project HOPE.
Tens of thousands of residents are stranded by floodwaters after heavy rains brought by the Category 4 storm -- the most powerful to hit the U.S. in a decade -- that roared ashore at the weekend. Harvey has stalled over the Gulf Coast and is delivering historic rainfall to the area, making it almost inevitable that already serious flooding will worsen. Authorities say the scale of the disaster is so huge that they cannot yet even quantify it. There are reports of water pouring into hospitals, some of which have been damaged by hurricane force winds. First responders are struggling to reach victims and helicopter borne medical teams are still grounded owing to high winds. The health care infrastructure is coming under severe strain in some areas.
In this critical early phase of the disaster, Project HOPE is supporting Team Rubicon as people continue to flock to shelters to escape rising floodwaters. Once health needs are assessed, HOPE will prepare to mobilize volunteer teams to help address the most pressing health needs emerging from what is certain to be a long process of recovery and rebuilding.
Project HOPE deployed medical volunteers in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in collaboration with the U.S. Navy effort following the historic disaster that struck the Gulf Coast. HOPE specializes in building long-term capacity after the initial shock of manmade or natural disasters has passed and has left a rich legacy of health infrastructure around the world, helping to establish hospitals and clinics, train health care professionals and assess needs in places as diverse as Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean.
About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leader in global health development and emergency relief programs. An international nonprofit organization, we save lives and improve health, especially among women and children. We accomplish our mission by improving the knowledge, abilities and tools of the health workforce to deliver high quality health services to communities in need. With programs in over 30 countries, we work at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges including infectious and chronic diseases, disasters and health crises, maternal, neonatal and child health and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. Learn more at www.projecthope.org and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg
About Team Rubicon
Founded in 2010, Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. With over 48,000 volunteers across the country, Team Rubicon has responded to over 200 disasters across the United States and the world. www.teamrubiconusa.org
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