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A Year of Disasters Brings Another Year of Response

From Mozambique to the Bahamas, 2019's disasters revealed challenges for those responding, and a signal for what may be yet to come.

Direct Relief's Gordon Willcock meets with a doctor in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian hit the islands as a Category 5 hurricane in August.
Direct Relief's Gordon Willcock meets with a doctor in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian hit the islands as a Category 5 hurricane in August.

When a major disaster strikes, Direct Relief’s emergency response team is deployed shortly thereafter. Despite the logistical difficulties of getting to a disaster zone, Direct Relief staff are often some of the first to arrive. They witness the brutal effects of a disaster first-hand and absorb the reverberating shock that shakes those in its path.

On this episode of the podcast, we speak with Direct Relief emergency response manager Gordon Willcock, who touched down immediately after two of this year’s most severe storms — Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. He tells us about what he saw during his on-the-ground response, and the unsettling trends he expects to accompany future disasters.

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