What a concerning week…
Tropical Storm Nate hit our community in Nicaragua hard last week, leaving overwhelming destruction in its wake. This was the worst storm to hit our area in decades – certainly the worst since we opened our Clinic doors in 2004.
Many of our colleagues and residents are now without homes, clean water, food, clothing and medicines.
Our Roberto Clemente Health Clinic, nearby Rancho Santana, FunLimón, schools and other local NGOs are now cleaning up their own facilities while also providing shelter to those who have nothing.
The long process of cleaning up and getting the community back on its feet has started. Our team is working tirelessly to make sure the Clinic is able to respond to all emergencies. Using our one ambulance and other back-road vehicles, we are doing the needed outreach to those who cannot make it to a facility.
As a friend of our Clinic, I want to share with you our response to this disaster through pictures, not just words…
On October 5, our Clinic was completely flooded by the heavy rain…
We lost power in the entire region for days. Our battery-powered backup generator eventually also gave out.
Every area of the Clinic was affected by the flood: pharmacy, administration, dentistry, emergency room, waiting room, organic vegetable garden and water treatment plant. But a core medical team stayed in the Clinic to handle emergencies and protect supplies and equipment from the rising water.
We’ve been working closely with Rancho Santana to help the community distribute clean water and basic supplies.
Thanks to their assistance, a backup generator was connected to the Clinic late last week. Our water treatment plant was up and running again this past Saturday. This has allowed us to distribute much-needed purified drinking water to public schools and shelters in the affected areas.
Our team continues to disinfect and clean up the Clinic, helping members of the community who lost everything. We are now assessing the damage in our region. Employees volunteered many hours over the weekend to get the Clinic ready to open and provide normal care, which resumed yesterday.
Our Clinic Director and a nurse are visiting schools with community leaders to get a sense of what is needed. So far, we have documented 940 families in dire need, many of which are in hilly, remote areas that are very hard to access on the washed-out roads.
In the coming days – and for some weeks – there will be a high risk of contamination and presence of contagious infectious diseases. We were already in the midst of flu season, which often brings with it many cases of dengue fever.
We urgently need added resources to bring on more medical personnel, replace equipment and supplies, and get more basic medicines.
The government of Nicaragua has not sent in any supplies or workers. It is up to us.
We are in close contact with the Ministry of Health and American Nicaraguan Foundation, as well as the mayor of Tola, the Rivas hospital and organizations in Managua that can send in supplies.
Our main focus right now is to make sure the community has support for trauma, purified water, proper nutrition and resources to help it get back on its feet.
Many people don’t realize that we are a nonprofit supported by individual donations. We have become a model private health clinic in Central America, providing more than just emergency and primary care. Our inspiring team is dedicated to health education outreach, including programs for healthy eating, gardening and water treatment.
Our Clinic team educates the community on physical and mental well-being, family planning and the importance of having kids in school. We offer programs on vocational training for our staff, and we work hard to be an essential positive force in this impoverished region. We are making an impact every day, though never more so than now.
Sadly, all of our 14 organic community gardens and beekeeping operations are badly damaged. We need to rebuild.
And the rainy season still has a month to go… with the potential for more tropical depressions on the way.
We could really use your help. We need more resources and funds to add staff, get more medicines, replace equipment, repair and upgrade our facility and vehicles, and distribute donated supplies.
We are a donor-supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit registered in Maryland, so your donation is 100% tax-deductible.
The Clinic is a 24/7 operation. We will continue to work around the clock to respond to this crisis and help the community get back on track.
Please join me today by donating.
Julia C. Guth, Chair of the Board
With Dr. José Mosquera, Clinic Director
P.S. The Oxford Club is providing matching funds of up to $50,000 for 2017. Your donation can go even further if you donate now.