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Emergency Response & Recovery: Stories & Blogs

CDC workspace at the US Embassy in Port au Prince, Haiti during the Hurricane Matthew response in October 2016 (photo courtesy of Luis Hernandez, CDC)

CDC workspace at the US Embassy in Port au Prince, Haiti during the Hurricane Matthew response in October 2016 (photo courtesy of Luis Hernandez, CDC)

Learn more about ERRB work and accomplishments through our stories and blogs.

CDC Establishes Command Center in Response to Hurricane Matthew
Members of CDC's Global Rapid Response Team assess Category 4 Hurricane Matthew's path to Haiti to inform the nature of the agency's response. Photo courtesy: Carlos Navarro Colorado.

On October 3, 2016, as Haiti braced itself for the onslaught of Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane, DGHP’s Emergency Response and Recovery Branch (ERRB) swung into action. For the first time, the team activated the Incident Management System (IMS) of ERRB’s Operations Room to support Hurricane Matthew international response efforts.

Global Rapid Response Team: Enhancing CDC’s Global Emergency Response Capacity
Mental hospital in Marfranc.

Keeping the world safe from diseases requires the right people, surveillance, labs, public health organizations and a way to manage and integrate these elements into effective response systems. In recent years there have been a number of severe global public health emergencies including population displacements, infectious disease outbreaks, and natural disasters.

Global Response Preparedness Work in Jordan
Illustration: Map of Jordan

DGHP’s Emergency Response and Recovery Branch’s Global Response Preparedness Team (GRPT) is helping Jordan build sustainable capacity to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. Through two separate, partner-based capacity building programs, GRPT is making a difference in emergency preparedness and response in Jordan.

GDD Operations Center: Detecting and Monitoring Health Threats Across the Globe 24/7
Top 10 public health events reported to Global Disease Detection Operations Center in 2016

In today’s interconnected world, a disease threat anywhere is a threat everywhere. The public health emergencies following the 2014-16 West Africa Ebola outbreak and the ongoing Zika outbreak in the Americas have demonstrated that public health threats and disease outbreaks are not restricted by geographic boundaries. Yet emergency preparedness…

The Consequences of Contaminated Water
March 22 is World Water Day. CDC highlights the need for all people to have access to safe water, and to prevent sickness and death from waterborne diseases such as cholera

We all remember when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, killing 230,000 people and displacing over a million. Fewer people remember that roughly nine months after the earthquake, the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) confirmed cases of cholera for the first time in Haiti. Since the emergence of cholera…

Global Rapid Responders — Our Boots on the Ground Defense
Ashley Greiner (Global RRT Tier 1 Emergency Public Health Epidemiologist) worked long hours in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Dr. Greiner is seen here checking samples labels before sending them to the Port au Prince national laboratory for testing in October 2016 (Photo courtesy of Coralie Giese)

Because our world is more connected than ever, a disease threat that occurs anywhere can very quickly spread across boundaries and become a threat to people worldwide. New microbes are emerging and spreading, drug resistance is rising, and limited biosafety and security measures in laboratories around the world…

CDC and Emory University Join Forces to Strengthen Responses to Public Health Emergencies
DGHP’s Emergency Response and Recovery Branch's Deputy Chief, Mark Anderson, leading students in a small breakout session at the Health in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies course at Emory (early 2017)

It’s no secret that a passion for health and rapid response is a crucial component of finding and ending disease outbreaks. However, this can only go so far without a solid public health foundation to efficiently and effectively respond to public health emergencies, particularly in disaster and conflict settings…

Early Warning Alert and Response Network Put the Brakes on Deadly Diseases
ERRB EIS officer Andrew Boyd interviews a data manager participating in EWARN surveillance system at a clinic providing care to internally displaced persons.

Fast detection of a polio outbreak in Somalia helped responders stop the disease from spreading quickly. Without Somalia’s surveillance system—Early Warning Alert and Response Network (EWARN)—a highly infectious disease may have taken root.

Everyone Needs Somewhere to Go: World Toilet Day 2016
photo of a latrine

We use toilets every day – at home, school, and work – yet 40% of the world’s population does not have this luxury. Clean and safe toilets are more than just a place to use the restroom. They are essential for health, human dignity, and improved education.

Hurricane Matthew and Haiti: Putting CDC Expertise to Work
St. Antoine Hospital in Jérémie, Haiti (photo courtesy of Ashley Greiner, CDC)

Life can quickly move from hard to catastrophic when a vulnerable island nation lies directly in the path of a Category 4 storm, as Haiti did when Hurricane Matthew roared ashore to bludgeon its remote southwest region on October 4th.

How Better Data Means Better Decisions in Emergencies
image of two men reviewing data

In an emergency, health workers need access to information quickly. They need to know the facts: Where is the outbreak occurring? Who is it affecting? How is it spreading? People on the ground may each have critical pieces of the puzzle, but they may not be connecting. What’s needed is a central system…

A WASH Engineer Follows Cholera from the Source
Filling water jugs to take home (Source: Anu Rajasingham, CDC)

When I went to Tanzania to investigate the same disease in 2016, contaminated water was still an issue. But I didn’t find just a pump. Instead, I found a whole truckload of sources.

Detecting Disease 24/7: On the Lookout for Health Threats Across the Globe
Luanda, Angola, where, thanks in part to CDC’s work, six million people were vaccinated against yellow fever (Source: Justin Williams, CDC)

In December 2015, four men who lived, worked, and ate in one neighborhood in Angola developed the same symptoms and died. Our team at the Global Disease Detection (GDD) Operations Center received a tip from the CDC country office in Angola and quickly brought together experts from around CDC…

Navigating Recovery in Haiti
A boy by a road in Haiti, where geographic information systems save lives and money for healthcare facilities (Source: CDC)

In December 2015, four men who lived, worked, and ate in one neighborhood in Angola developed the same symptoms and died. Our team at the Global Disease Detection (GDD) Operations Center received a tip from the CDC country office in Angola and quickly brought together experts from around CDC…

Preparedness for Millions
India uses a network of public health EOCs to make sure mass gatherings at festivals go smoothly (Source: Seba Delta y Sole Bossio)

Imagine a gathering on the scale of the Hajj or the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but instead of descending upon a city, more than a million religious pilgrims gather along the edges of a Hindu temple pool, waiting their turn to take a dip in the holy waters…

Protecting Mothers and Babies
While reviewing maternal and newborn health records with a midwife (center) in Goma, DRC, she had to leave twice to deliver babies (Source: Alaine Knipes, CDC)

Humanitarian emergencies often disproportionately affect women of reproductive age and children. During a response, applying public health approaches that are both locally adapted and sustainable can improve outcomes and strengthen the resilience of …

A Rapid Responder Engages a Community to Fight Zika
Tasha (right) at work in Panama (Source: Tasha Stehling-Ariza, CDC)

On my most recent deployment to Panama with CDC’s Global Rapid Response Team, my ability to explain the unknown became a critical skill. I arrived on the scene just as the Zika outbreak was taking hold.

Healing Hearts and Minds in Sri Lanka
Sometimes the scars of war are not visible (Source: Sergio Carbajo)

Looking at survivors of conflict, it can be easy to miss the mental and emotional damage they are suffering. But we can’t underestimate the effects of lingering psychological issues like…

Help and Hope for Syrian Refugees: The Many Ways We Take Action in a Crisis
Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan in Fall 2012 (Source: Farah Husain, CDC)

The scale of the Syrian crisis is nearly beyond comprehension: 4.9 million refugees, 6.6 million people displaced inside Syria’s borders. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. What is it like to be on the ground?

One Humanity: Supporting Mothers and Infants in the Syrian Refugee Crisis
Train tracks into Winter Reception Transit Center

The scale of the Syrian crisis is nearly beyond comprehension: 4.8 million refugees, 8.7 million people displaced inside Syria’s borders. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Partner Story: Laboratory and Field Partner Collaborations in Ethiopia Key to Evaluation of Performance of UDDTs
NRC team member opens the closed vault (stored fecal waste) of a UDDT for sampling

In 2014 CDC was awarded an R2HC (Research for health in humanitarian crisis) grant with the objective of determining the safety and acceptability of urine-diversion dry toilets (UDDTs) in refugee camp settings to provide guidance on their use in humanitarian crises.

Vietnam: Increased Surveillance Leads to Detection of Zika Virus
Vietnam EOC gathered for a briefing about the Zika virus.

Vietnam EOC gathered for a briefing about the Zika virus. Along with WHO, CDC experts Anthony Mounts, Trang Do, Michael Johansson, and Leisha Nolen provided consultation during the meeting. CDC Vietnam will enhance surveillance and temperature monitoring at border control areas and alert pregnant women to be aware and report any signs and symptoms.

Vietnam: Empowering Communities to Detect Potential Outbreaks Early
The Ministry of Health, PATH, CDC and other partners plan the event-based surveillance pilot project.

Diseases may start in local communities before they spread and become widespread outbreaks. Vietnam is harnessing the power of community members to identify potential outbreaks earlier to shorten response times and avert epidemics. A parent hears rumors from other parents about several children bitten by a rabid dog…

Mabinty Tarawally — 1-1-7 Hotline Responder
Mabinty Tarawally answers calls at the 117 Call Center in Freetown Sierra Leone.

Mabinty Tarawally has worked as a 1-1-7 Call Center responder for almost a year. When she began, the national call center consisted of seven people who handled 100 calls a day in a small room at the World Health Organization’s Sierra Leone country office. Tarawally joined the 1-1-7 Call Center in September 2014, and has…

Working collaboratively to support Ebola response efforts in Sierra Leone

CDC’s FETP partnerships with African nations continue to be leveraged beyond their national borders and for new and unexpected health threats. Dr. Bao-Ping’s blog posted originally on March 31 is being highlighted again as a reminder of how FETPs support global as well as individual nation’s health security.

Emergency Response and Recovery: Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines
In Tacloban the damage from Typhoon Haiyan was devastating.

In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the eastern side of the Philippine Islands, home to 11 million people…

Implications of Latrines on Women’s and Girls’ Safety
Michelle Hynes and Michelle Dynes are epidemiologists in CDC’s Emergency Response and Recovery Branch.

Michelle Hynes and Michelle Dynes are epidemiologists in CDC’s Emergency Response and Recovery Branch. They took a moment out of their hectic schedules to talk about their work related to World Toilet Day. Dr. Hynes and Dr. Dynes have been involved in public health activities linking the safety of women and girls to the locations…

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