Direct Relief hosted a key official from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Thursday to discuss the critical role of partnerships in times of disaster.
Direct Relief is a long-serving member of the CalOES-run Business and Utility Operations Center, a group of private, public and nonprofit organizations established to address large-scale emergencies in California.
Abby Browning, Chief of Private Sector and NGO Coordination at Cal OES, toured the site of Direct Relief’s future warehouse, an 8-acre parcel near the Santa Barbara Airport.
In addition to serving as Direct Relief’s new headquarters, the facility will be a key addition to both California and the nation’s emergency response infrastructure.
The state-of-the-art facility, expected to become operational by the end of 2017, will feature a 128,000 square-foot warehouse and extensive cold-storage capacity to manage medications and vaccines that require precise temperature control. This will provide a four-fold increase in warehouse space, enabling Direct Relief to respond more expansively to unmet medical needs around the world.
Over the last two decades, the volume of humanitarian assistance from Direct Relief to locally run health centers and clinics — both during emergencies and on a daily basis — has increased exponentially.
In 2000, Direct Relief provided $25 million of medical aid. By 2016, that value grew to $760 million — a nearly 3,000 percent increase. Of the 80 countries Direct Relief supports each year with humanitarian assistance, the United States is now the largest recipient. California receives more aid than any other state.
The new facility will also ensure compliance with tighter federal drug supply chain guidelines, set to start this fall. The Drug Supply Chain Security Act requires major upgrades to the infrastructure and systems used for handling, tracking and transporting pharmaceuticals. These new requirements apply to businesses and nonprofits alike.
As the only VAWD-accredited charitable organization in the U.S., Direct Relief is committed to meeting the highest standards in ensuring a safe and efficient supply chain for charitable medicine.