With Hurricane Irene causing heavy flooding in Vermont and North Carolina, communication remains challenging, but Direct Relief’s emergency response team has focused on contacting partners in the states to offer emergency medical aid over the last few days. Direct Relief has offered assistance to Rutland Free Clinic it reported that its basement was flooded, with three feet of water and mud. It has seen an increase in patients needing care and expects to see a rise in upper respiratory illnesses as well as issues among people with chronic conditions such as hypertension, asthma, and diabetes.
Working with the National Association of Community Health Centers, Direct Relief has also reached out to the North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA), the Bi-State Primary Care Association (representing Vermont and New Hampshire Community Health Centers) and the Vermont Coalition of Clinics for the Uninsured (representing mostly free clinics) to offer assistance for people affected by Irene.
With the help of NCCHCA, the team has also reached out to Goshen Medical Center and Metropolitan Community Health Services in NC. Both facilities have sustained damage from the flooding and Direct Relief is working to arrange support for their relief efforts. Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center in Ahoskie, NC, used contents from its pre-positioned Hurricane Prep Pack in its emergency response efforts and is working closely with county emergency management services.
Power outages across large areas have limited communications, but several Direct Relief partners have indicated that they not in need of additional aid as of yet. Direct Relief is staying in contact with partners across the states Irene hit to ensure they have the materials they need to help people affected by the storm.