On Heels of Harvey, Direct Relief Readies Response to Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma, now a life-threatening Category 5 hurricane, continues to gather strength in the Caribbean.

As the storm barrels northward, communities from Florida to the Dominican Republic and Haiti are bracing for potential hurricane-force winds, deadly storm surges, sustained rainfall and flash flooding.

Anticipating Hurricane Irma’s landfall this week, Direct Relief has reached out to health clinics across Florida and the Carribean that may be affected. Direct Relief has also prepositioned emergency medicine and supplies throughout the Gulf Coast, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.

By prepositioning critical medical resources in advance of hurricane season, clinics have immediate access to critically needed supplies in the event of a hurricane or other emergency.

Hurricane Preparedness Packs from Direct Relief at George R. Brown Convention Center – Houston, Texas. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief photo)

These modules proved invaluable last week when Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast and caused catastrophic flooding in Houston and across the state.

Twelve of the modules Direct Relief prepositioned in Texas were used within days of Harvey’s landfall, as more emergency supplies from Direct Relief were routed to hard-hit areas

Direct Relief’s Hurricane Preparedness Program Map can be viewed here, along with the current path of the storm.

Hurricane Irma is currently off the Antiguan coast, registering sustained winds of about 178 mph. Already it is considered among the strongest storms on record.

A Category 5 storm has the potential to destroy a high percentage of framed homes, topple power lines, and uproot trees, according to the Hurricane Center.

As Harvey demonstrated, the human toll of a hurricane can be significant in even the most developed countries. The threats to life are even greater in a country with fewer resources like Haiti.

Direct Relief has a long history of responding to hurricanes and extreme weather, including Hurricane Harvey, which has prompted a massive humanitarian response from Direct Relief.

Other extreme weather events like Hurricane Matthew in Haiti last year and flooding in Texas and Louisiana also spurred support to health clinics dealing with the impacts.

Direct Relief will continue monitoring the storm’s impacts and stands ready to respond.