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US Doctors For Africa (USDFA) and Global Relief Organization (GRO) have teamed up to establish permanent disaster relief teams who are experienced in disaster response and relief efforts and are available for deployment on short notice to anywhere in the world. In this partnership, USDFA supplies highly skilled medical professionals and disaster response specialists, health care supplies and equipment to natural disaster sites.
In September/October of 2004 GRO and USDFA organized a humanitarian mission to the Bahamas which was heavily hit by Hurricane Frances in early September. The devastation destroyed over 3,000 homes leaving 4,500 people homeless and the Island of Grand Bahama without power and water. USDFA and GRO sent a boat from Boston loaded with supplies and volunteer relief personnel. In addition to delivering critical medical supplies, medical personnel, food, water, building materials, clothing, temporary shelters and school supplies, we also contributed manpower to the relief and reconstruction efforts.
Recently, the GRO acquired the 225 foot RV Atlantis II, built in 1963 for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and used as the flag ship of that institutions' research fleet. The Atlantic II has traveled the world in all weather conditions, from the fringe ice of both poles to the tropics. In 1979, the ship underwent a major mid-life refit and was converted from steam to diesel power to reduce costs and increase range. We will convert the Atlantic II into a floating hospital as well as the base of operation for Global Relief Organization. The ship is already well suited for vehicle storage, transportation, medical supply storage, provision of care and deployment to remote operations.
USDFA believes that in times of crisis, the global community must provide relief and support to those experiencing unexpected and urgent need, regardless of geographic location. Frequently, however, the issue is not the provision or the quantity of relief assistance, but the logistical barriers to delivering aid promptly and effectively. Because USDFA and the GRO are able to pool their resources, the obstacles are easier to navigate and relief can get to the intended destination on short notice, anywhere in the world.