At Direct Relief, hurricane season runs year-round. The team has already started making donation requests to build new preparedness packs and modules for 2014.
Since 2007, Direct Relief has annually deployed medical essentials in specially designed Hurricane Preparedness Packs at the start of the season (June 1) to health care facilities in hurricane-prone regions of the U.S. and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
This pre-positioning effort ensures a portable stockpile of the most-needed medicines and supplies to provide both trauma and chronic care are on hand in the event of an emergency. Items not used by the end of the season (November 30) are absorbed into clinic and hospital inventories to assure that the resources are used and benefit their patients.
In years past, the hurricane preparedness modules have been opened not only in response to major storms and flooding, but also to address a wide variety of crises including a volcanic eruption, mudslides, and disease outbreaks. This was also the case in 2013. Here’s three examples from last year:
- Justinien University Hospital in Cap-Hatien, Haiti used medicine and supplies from their PREP module to treat victims of tear gas attacks at nearby high schools. The hospital also reported using items from the module to treat prisoners suffering from tuberculosis, victims of serious accidents, a young burn victim, and HIV-positive patients.
- Nos Petits Frères et Soeurs, a nonprofit organization that administers a pediatric hospital and a permanent home for abandoned and orphaned children in Haiti, opened the module in response to heavy rains and flooding. Wynn Walent, Assistant National Director, reported that, “Rains ruined homes, caused mudslides and deaths, and created an untenable situation in Cite Soleil, a challenging and destitute area under any circumstances, but particularly so when inundated with water.”
- Project Global Village, a long-term Direct Relief partner that operates medical clinics in rural Honduras, opened their module in response to a severe dengue fever outbreak combined with a stark shortage of critical medicines through the entire country.
2014 will be Direct Relief’s eighth year implementing this program. In addition to providing preparedness packs and modules to 60 facilities in 9 U.S. states and 6 Central American and Caribbean countries, assistance will expand to Mexico and the Philippines, two countries that are at very high risk for severe storms.