It all began 4 months ago! 2017 was hit hard by tropical storms and hurricanes. The total number of disasters this year doubled the yearly average. A whopping 10 tropical storms grew into full hurricanes and 6 of them reached Category 3 or stronger. Three of these disasters hit our southern coastline and the Caribbean the hardest, taking many lives and leaving others beyond desolation.
We continue to work hard to help those affected salvage what remains. We know, through years of experience, that recovery is a long and slow process of cleaning the mess, rebuilding the infrastructure in the affected areas, and re-acquiring basic materials that was lost in the disasters.
We are still working with our partners in the affected areas in the Caribbean, supplying them with needed health products and working to provide desperately needed medical equipment. Both Hurricane Irma and Maria left a devastating mark on a number of the islands. Many of the islanders are still displaced and waiting for recovery efforts to reach them. As we continue to meet the needs of those affected, it is essential that power is restored and that basic infrastructure be rebuilt on the islands in order that we can effectively provide necessary relief efforts. Medical equipment takes electricity and roads are needed in order to properly distribute the disaster aid. Timing is key, because while the materials are urgently needed, they cannot get there too early and clog the ports from other needed essentials.
We are also working to assess the current needs of the communities, in order to make the most impact. Currently we have one of our biomedical engineers, Jim Loeffler, in the Caribbean islands performing medical equipment assessments for some of the clinics, hospitals and nursing homes there. He is to return soon [specific times put us in a box, should there be delays.] with a report.
Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas and the Gulf coast. It is the most costly natural disaster ever recorded in US history. This is due to the amount of damage caused by the unprecedented flooding it brought with it, and to areas that had never flooded before. Many Texans are still displaced and waiting for government aid to help them reestablish permanent housing.
Hurricane Irma is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded over the Atlantic. It battered our southeastern coastline and several islands in the Caribbean. Millions were affected, many of whom are still homeless and displaced. In the Caribbean, power has yet to be completely restored and countless people are still living in temporary shelters. In Florida, many communities are still reeling [example?]. Efforts to recover and rebuild are in full swing, though a complete recovery with rebuilding efforts may take more than 6 months.
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, St. Martin and many other islands. The affected areas have currently shifted from the relief phase to the recovery phase, but many communities are still in need and are beginning to lose patience. Some areas further inland have yet to see much aid at all. They are frustrated as well, as living conditions remain poor. Power is still the primary issue, and many are living in shelters simply waiting for relief efforts to reach their area.
We are NO LONGER accepting product/item donations from individuals (i.e. blankets, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc.).