Hurricane Dolly was downgraded to a tropical cyclone soon after its landfall July 24, but its impact was still major for clinics in southern Texas.
The town of Harlingen was especially hard hit, according to on-the-ground reports from Direct Relief clinic partners there. The Guadalupe Health Center, directly in Dolly’s path, sustained significant damage. It was forced to close for a day and remained without power for several days. Direct Relief’s Hurricane Preparedness Pack, which contained medicines and supplies to treat 100 patients over a 72-hour period for a variety of traumas, was gratefully received.
“The package came as a godsend,” said the Guadalupe Health Center’s Rolando Martinez, during a phone call this week. The health center expressed a need for an antibiotic, Biaxin, to treat skin and respiratory infections; Direct Relief overnight shipped a case of the antibiotic via FedEx from our warehouse.
Flooding has been a serious issue for Harlingen’s at-risk population, according to the liaison at the Texas Association of Community Health Centers (TACHC). The Valley AIDS Clinic in Harlingen has been doing outreach to their clients, many of whom live in substandard housing, which is waterlogged and worsening in the summer heat. Based on experience responding to emergencies including Hurricane Katrina, Direct Relief contacted TACHC to offer support to its member clinics. Items offered included personal care products such as shampoo, soap, lotion, and toothpaste, necessities for people displaced by flooding. A shipment of personal care products for 400 people was immediately sent to Valley AIDS Clinic, which is also coordinating relief efforts with health facilities in nearby Brownsville and McAllen, distributing donations and supplies.
Direct Relief remains in close contact with our longtime partners in Texas to assess and respond to their specific requests for aid. Hurricane Dolly caused an estimated $1.2 billion in damage in Texas, and one flood-related death in Ruidoso, New Mexico.