Direct Relief USA today activated emergency-response efforts in response to the powerful Midwest storms that produced several tornadoes from Kansas to Kentucky, affecting dozens of communities and leaving nine people dead.
Direct Relief USA offered immediate assistance to 50 nonprofit clinic and health center partners in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky and also through the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Missouri Primary Care Association.
Direct Relief is the only nonprofit organization licensed to distribute prescription medications in all 50 states, and the facilities offered assistance today are among the more than 1,000 nonprofit clinics and health nationwide enrolled in the Direct Relief USA network through which medical product donations are provided to assist low-income, uninsured patients and in response to emergencies.
Two of Direct Relief’s partners requested assistance – Community Health Ministry in Wamego, Kansas, and Community Health and Emergency Services, Inc. (CHESI) in Cairo, Illinois.
Deb Kiker, a nurse at Community Health Ministry, said her clinic is supporting a nearby community where many families are displaced. Ms. Kiker estimates around 70 people are in need of emergency assistance.
Community Health and Emergency Services CEO Fred Bernstein, reported that the Harrisburg Hospital in Illinois had sustained structural damage that forced the hospital’s closure, with the exception of the emergency room. A church near the hospital has opened two temporary shelters and CHESI remains open to provide emergency medical care. An estimated 1,200 displaced people are in need of assistance.
Direct Relief USA is fulfilling the two health facilities’ requests, which include first-aid supplies, personal-care items, and hypertensive medications for displaced persons. Additional emergency supplies will be provided as needs are determined and requested.
In 2011, the Direct Relief USA program furnished more than $50 million in medications and medical supplies to nonprofit community clinics and health centers in all 50 states and provided cash grants totaling more than $283,000 to five partners following widespread flooding and tornadoes.