As torrential rainfall continues to pour on the Gulf Coast, the Department of Health and Human Services is providing support as local officials are continuing to assess communities’ health care infrastructure and medical needs. A list of the latest HHS actions is below:
- An EMS contract managed by HHS has been utilized to evacuate 182 patients via 70 ambulances from three hospitals in Victoria, Texas.
- HHS has deployed an additional 53,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies to support the medical needs of those impacted in affected areas.
- HHS has activated the AABB Blood Disaster Task Force for Hurricane Harvey in order to evaluate the need for nation-wide blood donations to replenish cancelled blood drives in the impacted area.
- As announced earlier, HHS also has more than 500 personnel on the ground and 1,000 more on alert, and HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D. has declared a public health emergency.
The Disaster Distress Helpline, a toll-free call center operated by SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, continues to be available at 1-800-985-5990, to aid people in coping with the behavioral health effects of the storm and help people in impacted areas connect with local behavioral health professionals.
In addition to full-scale coordination across the federal Cabinet agencies, HHS remains in regular contact with Texas and Louisiana health officials to maintain awareness of the local situation and to coordinate efforts to assist their rescue and recovery work as the situation unfolds.
Information on health safety tips during and after the hurricane will be provided by the Office of the Assistance Secretary for Preparedness and Response and will be available at www.phe.gov/harvey.
Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations to find a local blood drive and to schedule an appointment:
- AABB: www.aabb.org ; +1.301.907.6977
- America’s Blood Centers: www.americasblood.org
- American Red Cross: www.redcrossblood.org ; +1.800.RED CROSS (+1.800.733.2767)
- Armed Services Blood Program: www.militaryblood.dod.mil ; +1.703.681.8024
Critical updates will also be available at: