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Sudden Onset Disaster

We prepare and send medical teams to save lives and alleviate suffering following sudden onset disasters.

A sudden-onset disaster is triggered by a hazardous event that emerges quickly or unexpectedly. They take many forms – from earthquakes, tsunamis or hurricanes. They all take lives, separate families and devastate communities. When they hit, local healthcare services can be overwhelmed and so governments will put the call out for emergency medical assistance.

We are partners in the UK EMT, the front line of the UK government’s response to a humanitarian crisis overseas. Funded by the Department for International Development, the UK EMT is tasked with developing and delivering a fully staffed, stocked and functioning field hospital, outpatient department, and specialist cells (i.e. outbreak, surgical) ready to deploy within twenty-four hours following a health emergency overseas.

UK-Med is also developing our deployment capabilities both through independent deployments and by providing skilled staff into the operational platforms of our strategic partners. The EMT network is a globally coordinated and verified response system driven by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Any doctor, nurse or paramedic team coming from another country to practice healthcare in an emergency needs to come as a member of a team. The UK EMT was officially verified by the WHO to respond with a Type 1 (Fixed) or Type 2 field hospital in December 2016.

Drawing from our membership, we recruit and train the clinicians that make up the UK EMT. Each year we rotate six teams of 60 clinicians who are on-call for a period of two months – ready to deploy within 24 hour’s notice.

Case study: The Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan, 2013

In a combined response with Save the Children and Handicap International, UK-Med deployed a team of twenty-one clinicians as part of the UK National response to Typhoon Haiyan. A public health team was dispatched to work in support of the WHO in Manila, a specialist surgical cell augmented the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) field hospital in Tacloban and emergency and primary care teams were deployed to the remote islands supported logistically by the Royal Navy.

Following the success of the UK Ebola Response Programme, for which UK-Med provided trained clinicians, UK-Med was given a grant from DFID to develop its clinician register and on-call teams programme. In December 2016, UK-Med was verified for Type 1 and Type 2 teams by the World Health Organisation as part of its Emergency Medical Teams Initiative. 

Man fixing a roof in the Philippines