Hurricane Irma churned a violent path through the Caribbean this week, decimating several island nations in its path, causing extreme damage. Seven deaths were reported as a result of the storm, a number that could climb as more updates come forward.
The hurricane is a Category 5 storm with winds of up to 175 miles per hour, and reports from the island of St. Martin had officials stating that 95 percent of the island had been destroyed.
In Puerto Rico, more than 70 percent of homes had no access to power, even though Irma’s path held to the north.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic are also bracing for the storm’s impact. Florida is also expecting landfall on Saturday, with significant evacuations taking place across the state.
As Hurricane Irma advances, Direct Relief is communicating with the Florida Association of Community Health Centers and has also coordinated the Asociacion de Salud Primaria de Puerto Rico to assess the needs of healthcare clinics that may be impacted.
Direct Relief has already prepositioned emergency medical supplies at 14 locations across Florida, ready to be used by clinicians as needed. The packs contain enough medicines and supplies to treat 100 people for 3-5 days. Direct Relief has a long history of supporting healthcare facilities in the state and has shipped more than $46 million in medical aid since 2009.
Over 70 healthcare partners in Florida and Puerto Rico have been notified, and Direct Relief is ready to respond to providers as they request medical resources.
Direct Relief currently has staff in Florida as well as Haiti, where Direct Relief deployed a module of emergency medications from its warehouse in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti to Cap-Haitien in anticipation of Irma’s projected path on the north side of the country.
The module arrived at Justinien University Hospital and contains enough emergency medicines and supplies to treat 1,000 patients.
Hurricane Preparedness Packs are also stationed throughout the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
In addition to Irma, another hurricane is also roiling waters in the Atlantic. Hurricane Jose, behind Hurricane Irma’s path, is now a Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour, with some gusts even higher.
In the Pacific, Hurricane Lidia made landfall last week over Cabo San Lucas, and the storm damaged buildings and key infrastructure, leaving thousands displaced. Direct Relief is also monitoring Hurricane Katia in the Gulf of Mexico, expected to hit the Mexican coast near Veracruz Saturday morning.
Direct Relief has started shipping medicines and supplies to the Dominican Republic to supplement the two Hurricane Preparedness Packs already in the country. Two shipments are also en route to Haiti.
Direct Relief is accepting donations for both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. As always, 100 percent of donations made for a specific emergency will be used for that emergency.