Direct Relief has increased its financial commitment of cash to $1 million from its original $250,000 after receiving financial contributions totaling more than $500,000 for Hurricane Sandy over the past 48 hours. The organization’s $25 million in medical inventories also has been made available to assist nonprofit health centers and clinics in affected areas provide care for their patients.
Direct Relief sent the first of what is expected to be a series of emergency deliveries in response to requests from the William Ryan Community Health Center for its Ryan-NENA location Thursday. The health center is located in a zone of lower Manhattan that did not have electricity until Friday night and has more than 11,000 patients that rely on it for primary care services. It was forced to curtail operations because of power outages and limited fuel for generator power.
The outage placed tremendous stress and pressure on the residents in this large area of Manhattan, many of whom live in high rises and low-income housing, where food and water are becoming scarce due to lack of refrigeration and accessibility. Direct Relief sent an emergency shipment of food supplies, nutritionals, and hundreds of personal care packs containing basic hygiene items to help the patients of the Ryan-NENA health center.
Direct Relief is the only nonprofit organization in the United States licensed to distribute prescription medications in all 50 states and works with over 1,000 nonprofit clinics and health centers nationwide – including over 350 in Sandy-affected states – providing free medications and supplies for low-income and uninsured patients at the facilities on an ongoing basis and, as now, in response to emergencies.
Health care companies have stepped forward generously to assist in this emergency. The nutritional products requested by and being delivered to the Ryan-NENA health center site, including Ensure, PediaSure and Zone bars, were donated by Abbott. The facility also requested several hundred personal hygiene kits, which also are being delivered, and contain basic personal care and hygiene products donated by Johnson & Johnson, Neutrogena and Prestige Brands.
In addition to the financial contributions received over the past two days, Direct Relief has received numerous offers of assistance to provide medications and supplies anticipated to be needed. To ensure proper controls and safety for medications and specific health-related items, Direct Relief is accepting such offers when it is clear they are needed and is providing them on the basis of specific requests from licensed health facilities within the affected areas.
Direct Relief is also coordinating with state and local public agencies, which have been notified of Direct Relief’s available inventories for use in connection with the emergency.