With sustained winds of 200 mph, Hurricane Patricia intensified this morning into the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. The Category 5 storm is predicted to make landfall at 5 pm CT in the state of Jalisco.
Anticipating destructive winds, a powerful storm surge, waves as high as 40-feet, and up to 20 inches of rain, Mexican authorities have already evacuated more than 50,000 people.
Direct Relief’s Response
The Direct Relief Emergency Response team is preparing a Hurricane Response Module and other highly needed items to provide immediate aid to Mexico-based organizations and support medical facilities in the region. Direct Relief operates the world’s largest charitable hurricane preparedness program, and keeps emergency modules preassembled at headquarters ready to send should a disaster strike. The team is also working with the Coordinación Nacional de Protección Civil (SEGOB), Fundación IMSS, SEMAR, CADENA, and the Ministry of Health, with which Direct Relief has pre-existing relationships.
Hurricane Patricia is expected to continue north toward the United States, where it could compound the effects of a separate storm system over Texas. Many parts of Texas have experienced flooding already, and Hurricane Patricia could worsen the situation.
Direct Relief has prepositioned hurricane modules with 10 U.S. partners, each of which is located in the storm’s path. In addition, Direct Relief has offered support to the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, the National Emergency Management Team, and other partners in the storm path. Direct Relief staff are planning to be in Texas by Monday.
About Direct Relief in Mexico
As registered nonprofit in Mexico, Direct Relief helps Mexican hospitals, clinics, and foundations gain access to medical products that are needed to make a difference in the lives of Mexicans with a serious disease or illness or affected by a disaster or emergency. This includes work to address non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, as well as to manage emergency and disaster preparedness and response activities in Mexico.
In 2015, Direct Relief received its Donataria Autorizada status, which permits Mexican residents to receive tax benefits for their humanitarian donations to Direct Relief in Mexico. Since July 2014, Direct Relief has provided $8.8 million in donated medicines and medical supplies to health facilities throughout Mexico.