Deadly wildfires across Northern California that erupted Oct. 8 have displaced upwards of 100,000 people, destroyed over 7,700 structures and caused at least 41 deaths.
Since the fires began, Direct Relief has made 12 emergency deliveries valued at more than $264,000 to the California state offices of emergency services and public health, public health departments in three affected counties, and nonprofit community health centers and shelters containing more than 100,000 N95 masks, Rx medications — including inhalers and other respiratory Rx medications as well as insulin, and emergency health kits.
Beyond the immediate danger posed to nearby communities, wildfires can exacerbate chronic health issues such as asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. For those with such conditions, fires deal a harsh mix of smoke, dust and other particulates in the air.
For over a decade, Direct Relief has served as a member of the California Business Operations Center to mobilize private medical resources in emergencies with official response efforts. On Monday, Oct. 9, the center was activated in response to the devastating fires.
Direct Relief supports more than 40 healthcare partners in the affected area on an ongoing basis and has offered assistance to these sites in response to the fires.
Earlier this week, a shipment of N-95 masks was dispatched to Lake County Public Health Department to protect against inhalation of fine particulate matter in ash and smoke.
On Tuesday, Direct Relief staff hand-delivered an Emergency Health Kit, designed to treat 100 patients for up to three to five days and filled with items like antibiotics and wound care supplies.
Other items, such as eye and throat drops, were also included in the shipment to the Sonoma County Department of Health for distribution to numerous evacuation shelters.
Direct Relief delivered an additional 4,080 N95 masks to the Santa Clara Community Health Center on Wednesday.
Death toll in Calif. wildfires hits 29, matching the toll of 1933 fire in Los Angeles, with hundreds still missing https://t.co/8HCxZTphlr
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 12, 2017
— NPR (@NPR) October 12, 2017