Annual Report 2017 – PCI On Call

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Responding to disasters at home and abroad

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Rockport, Texas
After making landfall on August 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey damaged more than 185,000 homes and forced at least 40,000 people to take refuge in shelters. PCI partnered with Americares to provide health interventions, medical supplies and interpretation support for non-English speaking individuals in need of medical assistance in Houston.
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We also teamed up with St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) of Rockport, a charitable organization whose own facilities were damaged by the Category 4 storm. Teams of volunteers canvassed selected communities to conduct home visits and interview hurricane victims about their most pressing needs. Funds to cover rent, medical costs, school supplies and fuel were deemed most important.
PCI and SVdP then collaborated to provide unconditional cash transfers to disaster-affected households, including homeless families, uninsured families, persons with disabilities and elderly individuals. This strategy empowered individuals to decide how best to use the money to support their immediate recovery needs.
Oaxaca, Mexico
The magnitude 8.2 earthquake that shook southern Mexico on September 7, 2017, was the most powerful to hit the country in a century, claiming nearly 100 lives and damaging more than 121,000 homes in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco.
Teams from PCI Guatemala and PCI Mexico traveled to Oaxaca, one of the hardest hit and most impoverished areas in the region, to help take stock of the devastation and coordinate a response strategy with CEMEX.
Over a 10-day period, we trained the municipality of Asunción Ixtaltepec to carry out an assessment using PCI’s disaster management information system and to collect the data necessary to meet affected families’ immediate needs. Of the 1,500 households assessed, more than half were completely destroyed, 24.3% were partially destroyed and the rest were classified as damaged. The municipality is using this information to help plan reconstruction efforts and to request subsidies from the Mexican federal government for affected families.
PCI also mobilized its partner, Build Change, to dispatch a team of engineers to assess the reasons behind the level of damage. The team analyzed 91 houses and found older structures, mainly built out of unreinforced construction systems, collapsed at a much higher rate than other homes in the area. This data will inform PCI’s recommendations to municipal and national government stakeholders and the private sector on how best to support rebuilding safer houses.
Finally, with Americares, PCI carried out a “Psychological First Aid” training to help first responders cope with trauma and learn how to strengthen mental health systems for future emergencies. Fifty mental health providers from six jurisdictions in Oaxaca attended the two-day workshop through the Ministry of Health.
“After the earthquake, we were providing counseling to a woman who lost her husband during the earthquake and then a few days later lost her son,” one participant shared. “Mental health support is not the answer to these problems, but it is a very much-needed service. These tragic losses are too much for anyone to manage alone.”
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Photo by: Blanca Lomeli/PCI
Lilibeth Santiago Toledo, a single mother of six, not only lost her home in the earthquake, but also lost her livelihood. She operated a meal preparation business out of her house that allowed her to provide for her family.
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