As hurricane season officially begins today and communities in the U.S. and neighboring countries prepare for the threat of storms, Direct Relief announced today the delivery of Hurricane Preparedness Packs to nine U.S. states and seven countries most likely to be affected during hurricane season.
The Hurricane Preparedness program is a million-dollar initiative whereby large quantities of medicines and supplies are pre-positioned at health centers, clinics and hospitals in at-risk areas to treat vulnerable people during emergencies. The pre-positioning of these medical resources is a key component of Direct Relief’s emergency relief efforts and ongoing assistance to partner clinics to facilitate a fast, efficient response when a disaster strikes.
“Smart preparation is the best defense when a hurricane strikes. Community health clinics are a key component of an effective response and speedy recovery. It is critical that clinics in areas most often hit by extreme weather are bolstered with additional supplies to utilize when the devastation first occurs,” Damon Taugher, Director of USA Programs This year marks year six for the growing program—the only one of its kind—which has expanded support to cover 50 U.S. sites in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia and South Carolina, and 10 international partners in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, and Nicaragua.
Health centers that have received the medical supplies in the past reported that they have been incorporated into local emergency preparedness efforts.
Jo Anne Powell, Special Projects Manager at Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center in Ahoskie, N.C., said “when Hurricane Irene was approaching with possibility of a direct hit, everyone was worried they would not be able to get the supplies they needed for days. I repacked the first aid supplies from Direct Relief’s hurricane prep kits and stationed them on the most outlying emergency vehicles. All who received the supplies were greatly appreciative.”
The contents of the prep packs are versatile and can be used for acute care as well as to treat patients with chronic diseases should they become displaced by storms and lose access to their medications or medical care. Each U.S.-bound pack contains enough medicines and supplies to treat 100 patients for three to five days after a hurricane hits. The modules shipped internationally are much larger, containing enough supplies to treat 1,000 people for a month following a disaster.
Direct Relief is able to supply the Hurricane Prep Packs with donations from pharmaceutical and medical corporations and through a long-standing relationship with FedEx to assist in shipping and logistics. The Prep Packs are provided free of charge to the healthcare facilities.