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.
February: Direct Relief-supplied medicines are distributed at a health event conducted by the group Mountain Heart Nepal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
November: The Camp Fire broke out on November 8, killing at least 86 people and destroying most of the town of Paradise.
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.