Louisiana Floods: Six-Month Update on Direct Relief’s Response



In 2016, floodwaters damaged or destroyed the homes of tens of thousands of Louisiana residents. To assist in the recovery, Direct Relief sent 139 shipments of medical aid, totaling over $2.89 million (wholesale) in medical products, to the following health groups:

  • Access Health Louisiana
  • Baton Rouge General Medical Center
  • Baton Rouge Primary Care Collaborative, Inc.
  • Calcasieu Parish Human Services Department
  • Care South
  • Eunice Community Health Center
  • National Association of Christian Churches
  • Primary Care Providers for a Healthy Feliciana, Inc.
  • Reach Out Worldwide
  • Southeast Community Health Systems
  • St. Anna’s Medical Mission
  • St. Gabriel Community Health Center
  • Team Rubicon

In addition to the provision of medical goods, Direct Relief has awarded $630,000 in post-disaster emergency grants to specific partners to support their capacity to deliver immediate medical care, restore essential health services, and rebuild damaged health facilities.

Medications for Chronic Health Conditions

In emergency situations, persons who depend on medications for chronic conditions – primarily diabetes, asthma, and hypertension – are particularly at risk of a medical crisis if their medications are unavailable.

To address the urgent need for medical resources, nearly 40 companies responded with a wave of in-kind contributions.

Essential medical supplies — insulin, inhalers, vaccines, antibiotics, wound-care products, and personal care items — were donated by companies that include 3M, Abbott, AbbVie, Actavis Pharma, Alcon Laboratories, Anda, Inc., Allergan, Apotex, AstraZeneca, Baxter International, BD, Bionime USA, Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation, Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals, CVS, Eli Lilly, GSK, GSMS, Integra LifeSciences, Janssen, Johnson & Johnson Consumer, LifeScan, Magno-Humphries Labs, McKesson, Medtronic, Merck, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Neutrogena, Novartis, Omron Healthcare, Pfizer, Prestige Brands, Purdue Pharma, Sanofi, Sappo Hill Soapworks, Second Harvest, TEVA, and Unilever.

Pre-positioned Modules in Louisiana Tapped

In a program developed following after-action reports of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Direct Relief each year pre-positions specially designed emergency medical modules containing chronic medications in more than 50 communities most at risk for hurricanes and floods.

Three of these pre-positioned caches, each containing $20,000 in medical essentials developed in collaboration with partner facilities over the past ten years, are in Louisiana and have already been tapped.

FedEx Making Overnight Deliveries of Emergency Aid

Direct Relief works extensively with FedEx in emergency preparedness and response activities, and as soon as the need for assistance became clear, the company began delivering shipments of requested emergency medical items at no cost. This has included extensive inventories of items that require “cold-chain” handling, such as insulin and vaccine – both of which are being requested in large volumes that are anticipated to continue as evacuees remain away from their medical homes.

Walmart & Ellen DeGeneres Fund Recovery Efforts

A Huge Donation to Louisiana Relief

Ellen’s friends at Walmart generously donated an incredible amount of money toward the Louisiana flood relief.

Walmart partnered with Ellen to donate $1.5 million to recovery efforts in Louisiana. The donation — the single largest in the show’s history — supported three organization including Direct Relief, with each receiving $500,000.

Close Coordination with Louisiana Health Centers, Clinics, Associations, Local Officials

As the only US charity with VAWD accreditation from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and licensed to distribute Rx medications in all 50 states, Direct Relief conducts the largest charitable medicines program in the US.  The vast US program was created following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the significant gaps exposed at that time, and last year provided 10,000 deliveries of medications and supplies to more than 4,000 health facilities serving 12 million patients in all 50 states.

In Louisiana, Direct Relief’s activities are being conducted with many of the local health centers that helped shape this program 12 years ago and with which Direct Relief has supported ever since. All medications and supplies are specifically ordered by qualified, licensed health facilities and furnished free of charge.

Policy Regarding Louisiana Flood Donations

As with other large-scale emergencies, Direct Relief’s policy regarding donations for the Louisiana Floods is simple: all contributions designated for Louisiana flooding are used solely for relief and recovery efforts related to flooding in Louisiana.

No emergency funds are used for fundraising expenses: a bequest pays 100% of Direct Relief’s fundraising expenses. This means that no portion of any contribution for Louisiana flooding is used for fundraising purposes.

Giving is Good Medicine

You don't have to donate. That's why it's so extraordinary if you do.