As Hurricanes Irma and Jose Threaten Lives in the Caribbean and the United States, Uniting for Health Innovation Readies a Response

Atlanta, GA (September 11, 2017) – From Cuba to Antigua and Barbuda, Hurricane Irma, one of the most forceful storms ever documented in the Atlantic basin, swept through the Caribbean and part of the United States and left a treacherous trail of destruction in its path, reports the BBC. Hurricane Irma has left thousands homeless and according to recent reports by Caribbean360, has resulted in at least 25 mortalities. In response, Uniting for Health Innovation braces for action, identifying strategic partners throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada to assist in the mobilization of resources to aid affected communities in the Caribbean.

Although Hurricane Jose left the Caribbean mostly untouched, it still meanders in the Atlantic and might result in storm swelling in portions of the Caribbean for the next few days, reports Caribbean News Now. Officials urge all residents in its potential path to stay vigilant and seek shelter or evacuate, if possible.

The Foundation’s leadership and staff sends our thoughts and prayers to all those who are affected, which includes the people of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Martin, St. Maarten, St. Barts, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas, Cuba, and also United States residents in Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama.

“Irma already represents the most dangerous natural disaster of this year, displacing thousands across the Caribbean and the United States. It is still early to assess the full impact of both Irma and Jose; however, relief support is required NOW, which is why organizations across sectors must come together to offer assistance to those in the most affected areas,” Uniting for Health Innovation President and CEO Dr. Jennie Ward-Robinson said. “The health, safety, and protection of families and communities is of top concern to Uniting for Health Innovation, and we are quickly responding to help support those most in need.”

The hurricanes pose a huge economic burden to the Caribbean. Many areas in Hurricane Irma’s path suffered extensive damages to infrastructure, causing more than $10 billion USD in damage across the Caribbean, as of Friday, September 8, 2017. It is evident that it will take a great deal of work, from all sides, to assist our friends and neighbors, so they can get back on their feet. Furthermore, many communities are currently without electricity and face immediate and long-term health threats associated with unsanitary conditions, drinking water scarcity, and toxic chemical runoff. These conditions may lead to infectious diseases, including cholera, and the rise in antimicrobial resistance, which could be prevented with access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).

The Foundation is committed to addressing water and sanitation-related issues and improving the overall living conditions for the people of the Americas, so in the coming weeks, the Foundation will be engaging key partners across the Americas to bolster hurricane response efforts. The Foundation has chosen to direct our efforts on the vulnerable communities most impacted by this tragedy.

You can donate here to support our efforts – we thank you in advance for your help. Together, with your support, we can help rebuild the Caribbean and the United States and enable a brighter, more productive future for families and communities throughout the region.

For additional information or if you would like to partner with us on our forthcoming campaign, please direct all inquiries to: development@PAHOFoundation.org. Photo: Hurricane Irma courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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About Uniting for Health Innovation

Improving the health and wellbeing of the people of the Americas is at the heart of Uniting for Health Innovation’s work. As an independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, we are committed to enabling better health and a brighter future for people across the region. Our mission is to develop programs, share insight, and collaborate with experts and partners to have a profound, positive impact on seemingly intractable public health problems that threaten the health and prosperity of people in the Americas.

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