Hurricane Sandy: One Year Later

One year ago, Hurricane Sandy – the largest Atlantic hurricane on record – pounded the Caribbean nations of Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba and then made its way up the mid-Atlantic region of the United States with powerful winds, driving rain, and high storm surges. More than 100 people died, thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed and tens of thousands of people were displaced. Many were left without heat, electricity, and water.

With an outpouring of generous support from individuals and private resources, Direct Relief was able to respond to the needs of local people who were without basic items by supporting nonprofit safety-net health centers and clinics who treat the most vulnerable people in their communities – people who have the least cushion to bounce back from losses after emergencies.

Over the past year:

  • 86 shipments of emergency medical goods were delivered to 35 partner facilities treating people in the hardest hit areas of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Valued at more than $2.2 million, these deliveries included specifically- requested products including medications for acute and chronic conditions, nutritional supplements, first aid and general clinic supplies, diagnostic equipment, and hygiene-related products – including 1,500 personal care packs filled with basic supplies to comfort families in need.
  • More than $1.8 million in cash grants brought welcome relief for healthcare facilities that struggled from the double blow of significant capital and operating losses caused by Hurricane Sandy, and the heightened need for services among patients affected by the storm and its aftermath.  The grants helped to cover: costs associated with the repair or replacement of medical supplies and equipment; the purchase of generators that enabled facilities to operate despite power outages as well as prepare them for future storms and other disasters; the provision of healthcare services via mobile medical units; and revenue losses resulting from closure after the storm. $1.5 million of the grants were funded by the Sandy Safety Net Fund, a  joint initiative between Direct Relief and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) formed immediately after the storm to exclusively support patients at of nonprofit health centers and clinics.
  • Each of the 25 firefighters with the Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Department received an emergency pack to ensure they have the right tools to respond efficiently the next time disaster strikes. The fire department also received $10,000 to rebuild their firehouse, which was damaged by Sandy.
  • In Haiti, three of Direct Relief’s partners utilized medicines and supplies in the Hurricane Preparedness Modules pre-positioned in country at the start of hurricane season (June 1) to assist in emergency. These supplies, along with an additional shipment of cholera-related assistance to combat the rise in cases brought on by flooding helped save lives in Haiti after the storm.

Thinking beyond Sandy:

  • By developing a larger, stronger network of community health centers and clinics as well as deeper ties with state primary care associations, emergency response agencies, and other humanitarian networks, Direct Relief continues to heighten its preparedness for future emergencies
  • Direct Relief continues to expand strategic relief work with technology company, Palantir, as a result of a Commitment to Action announced at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in which the company pledged to help aid organizations utilize Palantir technology to focus assistance where it is needed most before, during, and after emergencies. Since Sandy, the two worked together to respond to the devastating Oklahoma tornadoes.

Direct Relief knows that the people most vulnerable before and during an emergency are most vulnerable after recovery, which is why every day the team remains connected to its partners providing care to people who otherwise would not have access by maintaining ongoing support of free medicines and supplies. In doing so, these facilities are better equipped to respond to the next emergency that arises.

For more detail on Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery, click here. To support Direct Relief’s emergency preparedness and response initiatives, donate here.

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