Direct Relief Makes $32 Million in Medical Inventories Available to Colombia and Peru amid Historic Flooding

Families in Huachipa, Peru, receive Direct Relief family hygiene kits, which are filled with basic items, like soap, toothbrushes and other essentials. Many were displaced from their homes in the wake of the flooding. (Photo by Andrew Curtis/Hitchhiker Pictures)

Direct Relief today committed an initial $200,000 in cash and made available $32 million in medical resources for relief and recovery efforts in Colombia and Peru, where historic flooding and mudslides have claimed hundreds of lives and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

Today’s commitment follows several emergency air shipments from Direct Relief of medical aid totaling $7.8 million and 38 tons (76,000 lbs.).

“People in Peru and Colombia are facing severe risks in the wake of devastating storms, and Direct Relief is extending support to our capable partner organizations providing frontline care in a still unfolding, complex emergency,” said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe.

Devastation in the town of Mocoa, Colombia, taken the morning after landslides and flooding. Direct Relief is responding to this region of Colombia with critical medical aid and supplies.(Photo courtesy of La Patrulla Aerea Colombiana)

Water sources often become compromised after serious flooding, which can lead to a host of health issues. Cholera and other diseases related to poor sanitation pose additional threats to public health. Neglected tropical diseases including trachoma, soil-transmitted pathogens, and various bacterial and parasitic infections also present risks to people in the area.

Bolstered by strong support from corporate partners that include AbbVie, Allergan, Actavis, Baxter, BD, Boehringer Ingelheim, Teva, Pfizer, and Unilever, Direct Relief is sending antibiotics, antivirals, rehydration supplies and hygiene kits. FedEx has provided emergency airlift support.

Emergency medical tents are constructed in Huachipa, Peru. Hospitals and other key infrastructure were destroyed in the devastating floods, and the tents, donated by Barebones, provide a much-needed space for triage care. (Photo by Andrew Curtis/Hitchhiker Pictures)

In Peru, Direct Relief is assisting four partner organizations providing emergency services and conducting medical missions in close coordination with the Peruvian Ministry of Health. Patrulla Area Colombiana (PAC, a Colombian NGO of pilots and medics), Asociacion Paz Peru, Socios en Salud (Partners in Health), and Asociacion Vida Peru have received and distributed $3.9 million of essential medications and supplies totaling 17.5 tons to eight hard-hit regions: Lima, Huarmey, Piura, Pedregal Alto, Simbila, Tumbes, Casma, and Arequipa. Direct Relief also is funding the deployment of 20 medical personnel to Piura to provide medical care and deliver seven tons of medicine and medical supplies.

In Colombia, Direct Relief this week sent an initial air shipment of medical aid to La Orden de Malta Colombiana for emergency health services in Mocoa. Based on additional requests from the Colombian Navy and PAC, Direct Relief is preparing an 18-ton airlift of medical aid for delivery in the coming days.

Further Reading

Emergency Response: Flooding and Mudslides in Colombia

The first of several shipments bound for Colombia’s devastated southwestern Putumayo region is expected to arrive in the country Wednesday. The shipment contains critical supplies like antibiotics, IV solutions, and essential medicines to manage chronic health conditions.

Direct Relief Delivers Emergency Medical Aid to Peru, Briefs Peruvian Consul General on Flood Response

As deadly flooding persists in Peru, Direct Relief mobilized a second shipment of more than 23,000 pounds of medicines and medical aid to the country. Intense flooding has pounded the country since the beginning of the year. More than 80 people have been killed as a result and 110,000 have been displaced from their homes as the floodwaters have risen.