Direct Relief Overnights Emergency Aid to Arkansas Following Worst Ice Storm in Decades

To aid residents affected by the recent ice storms, Direct Relief International sent 1,500 personal care packs via FedEx to health center partners in northern Arkansas in the first wave of emergency assistance.

A state of emergency was declared January 28 in 48 counties in Arkansas, where ice storms have downed trees and caused massive power and water outages to 310,000 people. Residents have had to evacuate to emergency shelters during the biting cold.

Working in close contact with the National Association of Community Health Centers, Direct Relief’s Domestic Programs staff identified three health centers across the northern half of the state assisting with health care at shelters:

  • St. Francis House, in Springdale;
  • Boston Mountain Rural Health Centers, headquartered in Marshall; and
  • Corning Area Healthcare in Corning.

In Corning, near the border with Missouri and Tennessee, a shelter has become temporary home to 750 people.

The 1,500 personal care packs include Neutrogena shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion, can have untold value for people forced to evacuate their homes. Within 24 hours after the request was received, the personal care packs were shipped via FedEx, which generously donates air freight services to Direct Relief.

Domestic Programs staff is working with clinics to identify and respond to other health needs in this emergency response. Clinic contacts reported this morning that they have been without power for 11 days, and are currently without water or gas for heating. They also said that when water service was restored briefly a few days ago, residents filled their bath tubs, sinks, and washing machines, but all tap water must be boiled before use.

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