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2018: The Year in Pictures

2018 was another year defined by humanitarian crises and natural disasters of unprecedented scale, and Direct Relief again responded more expansively than ever before in its 70-year history – delivering $1.1 billion in humanitarian assistance to locally-run healthcare providers in 101 countries, including $230 million to communities in 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


January: Deadly fires in Direct Relief’s home state of California book-ended the year, which began with the Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslide in Montecito that killed 23 people.

First responders dig through debris in Montecito on Jan. 11, 2018, after the devastating mudslides ripped through fire-impacted communities. The public was advised to be alert to certain health conditions associated with natural disasters, disaster cleanup, and repopulation of impacted areas. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)

February: Direct Relief-supplied medicines are distributed at a health event conducted by the group Mountain Heart Nepal.

Patients were seen by physicians inside a rural school in Seratar, a mountainous community eight hours outside of the capital city of Kathmandu, where residents have limited access to health care. (Dan Hovey/Direct Relief)

March: In Bangladesh, where over 700,000 Rohingya have sought refuge from mass violence in Myanmar, Direct Relief has worked with its longstanding partner HOPE Foundation in Cox’s Bazar to establish a field hospital for women and children – as well as durable medical tents, diagnostic and testing supplies, medical protective gear, oral rehydration salts, prenatal vitamins, and personal hygiene items.

Rohingya refugees in Modhuchara camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Many of the dwelling structures are made of bamboo and lack foundations. (Photo by Rajib Dhar for Direct Relief)

April: To address insulin shortages in Syria, Direct Relief and the International Diabetes Federation’s Life for a Child program partnered with the Syrian American Medical Society in April, 2018 to deliver approximately 15,500 vials insulin to more than 700 Syrians under the age of 26 with type 1 and 2 diabetes.

Since the start of the Syria crisis in 2011, Direct Relief has delivered over 399 tons of medical aid valued at $114 million to healthcare organizations caring for Syrians across eight countries. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

May: Dr. López, Director of the Imaging Center of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, returned to her island last year to work with the island’s population, leaving behind generous job offers on the mainland. Doctors who work in Puerto Rico must do more with less, with budget restrictions and infrastructure still in disrepair from Hurricane Maria. Direct Relief purchased 3D mammography equipment so that Dr. López and her colleagues can conduct contrast-enhanced spectral mammography at the center.

Radiologist Dr. Yania López Álvarez (center) reviews patient cases with residents Amanda Marrero González and Manuel Betancourt Robles at the Medical Center of Puerto Rico in San Juan, P.R., on May 10, 2018. (Photo by Erika P. Rodriguez for Direct Relief)

June: In the days and weeks following the eruption of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala, Direct Relief equipped local responders with emergency medical supplies and protective equipment, including N-95 respiratory masks and medical packs.

God’s Child Staff receive emergency supplies from Direct Relief in Volcano aftermath. (Photo courtesy of God’s Child)

July: After hurricane Maria struck in September, 2017, and left the American territory in the dark, Direct Relief has worked to install solar power at health centers and clinics across the island.

Luis Montalvo installs a solar power system at Clínica Iella in San Juan, P.R., on July 5, 2018. (Erika P. Rodriguez/Direct Relief)

August: 6.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the Indonesian island of Lombok on August 5, 2018, collapsing buildings and rattling infrastructure. 563 people were confirmed killed while more than 1,000 were confirmed injured. Direct Relief staff deployed to the area days after the quake to assess the situation and support local partners responding to those in need.

Collapsed buildings and infrastructure reveal the devastation caused by the earthquake that rocked the Indonesian island of Lombok. (Gordon Wilcock/Direct Relief)

September: Hurricane Florence was one of several highly destructive storms to hit the United States in 2018. Within two weeks after the storm landed in the Carolinas, leading to at least 47 deaths, Direct Relief had delivered more than 14,000 lbs. of medicine and medical supplies, including more than 300,000 defined daily doses of medicine, to local health centers and free clinics in the affected areas.

Nurse Gena Byrd, a clinician for local farmworkers at Greene County Health Care, at the home of an elderly patient outside Snow Hill, North Carolina. The home had recently flooded as a result of Hurricane Florence. Byrd and other staff and volunteers made repairs to make the home safer. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

October: Week’s after Hurricane Florence made landfall, Hurricane Michael devastated portions of the Florida panhandle and caused flooding throughout multiple states. Direct Relief responded immediately, committing an initial $250,000 in emergency operating cash to health centers and clinics and making available more than $85 million in medications and other medical products.

Direct Relief’s Director of International Programs and Emergency Response, Andrew MacCalla, brings medical supplies to Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael’s impact in the Florida panhandle on Sunday, October 14, 2018. (Photo by Zack Wittman for Direct Relief)

November: The Camp Fire broke out on November 8, killing at least 86 people and destroying most of the town of Paradise.

Direct Relief staff offload 20,000 N-95 respirators, 20 oxygen concentrators, an emergency health kit designed to care for medical needs for more than 100 patients, hygiene kits, and medical response packs on Nov. 10, 2018 to the Butte County Public Health Department in Oroville, CA. (Andrew Fletcher/Direct Relief)

December: Since the Camp Fire erupted, Direct Relief has responded consistently to requests for emergency assistance, delivering 52 emergency shipments of medications, medical supplies and other essential resources to health providers and response organizations in fire-affected areas.

With over 18,000 structures in Paradise burned and the area’s only medical center closed until at least 2020, the recovery process just beginning. (Andrew MacCalla/Direct Relief)

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