Acupuncturists Without Borders -  Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort
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"The Red Cross gave me a hot meal and a blanket, the acupuncturists gave me peace of mind." - California resident

On Tuesday, October 23rd AWB made a decision to coordinate teams to provide acupuncture relief to the people of Southern California affected by the wildfires. By Sunday, a team had been formed, locations were scouted, the word was put out and a relief effort was underway. Over the next few weeks, several hundred treatments were given to California residents, firefighters and other public and emergency workers.

AWB set up initially at the Ramona Senior Center in Ramona, California where residents were coming to receive meals, clothing, water and hot showers. AWB was stationed in 12 hour shifts at the Ramona Senior Center and later at Ramona Fire Station 95, where they treated residents, firefighters and police officers. Ramona is located directly on the fire line and many residents were dealing with the impact of lost homes and displacement.

On November 3rd the effort in Ramona was handed over to the local acupuncturist and the team moved south. During that week AWB volunteers provided treatment at the Barrett Junction Cafe in Barrett Junction and in Potrero. This region received very few services during and after the fires and the community was very much in need of treatment. Michelle Marcotte, an acupuncturist in El Cajon, was involved in AWB's effort in California.

She said that the residents in this area are deeply grateful for AWB's presence in their communities as so few services have been made available to them.

The AWB team was headed by Barbara Seymour of Solana Beach and John Convey of Los Angeles, who were both trained at AWB seminars. Both local acupuncturists and individuals from as far away as San Francisco and Denver arrived to assist with providing treatment. Over 15 California acupuncturists provided assistance with AWB for this mobilization.

Acupuncture was also provided at Qualcomm Stadium, Gillespie Field and other locations by students and teachers from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and by acupuncturists from the Alternative Healing Network. AWB worked with these local groups to network practitioners and provide support. AWB officially closed operations in California on Wednesday, November 7th. A full report on the California effort will be available in late January 2008.

AWB is still accepting donations to cover the costs incurred for this effort. Given the need for an immediate response, AWB chose to move forward though there was not time to secure funds in advance. In the future, we hope to have some funds set aside so that we can securely respond to disasters as needed. Please help us build this fund.

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