Tornadoes, Flooding Continue Across Central U.S.

Direct Relief ships vital supplies to local responders.


Extreme Weather

Oklahoma state troopers carry out response operations near the city of Skiatook. (Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Department of Public Safety.)

Tornadoes ripping through the central United States killed at least three people – two in Oklahoma, one in Ohio – over Memorial Day weekend. The deadly storms are part of a wave of severe weather, including heavy rains and flooding, affecting the region since early last week. At least 10 people have been killed as a result of the series of storms, and the number of fatalities may climb as the situation comes into clearer focus.

The storms also injured dozens, caused large-scale outages, and damaged or destroyed numerous homes and other buildings. In Indiana, heavy rain and rushing currents swept away a four-year-old boy, who is still missing.

The end isn’t yet in sight. On the morning of Tuesday, May 28, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center reported that large swaths of the country, from the Central Plains to Pennsylvania, were at risk for tornadoes, hail, and damaging winds.

Severe weather events both create acute healthcare needs and exacerbate existing conditions. On top of the acute injuries caused by storms, unmanaged chronic conditions, like diabetes, can result in emergency room visits for people with limited access to their medications. To provide consistent care – and save lives – disaster responders need to have these medications on hand.

That’s why Direct Relief sent a range of supplies designed for both acute needs, including wound care, anti-infectives, medical supplies, personal care products, and insect repellent, and chronic conditions, like insulin and cardiovascular medication.

Since the storms began, Direct Relief has been in contact with 105 health facilities throughout the region to offer assistance. Currently, the organization is working with three groups to provide necessary medication and supplies to people affected by the storms: the National Association of Christian Churches, a volunteer-based disaster aid organization; Community Health Awareness and General Support of Oklahoma, a free clinic; and the Health and Wellness Center, a federally qualified health center with eight locations in Oklahoma.

Additional shipments will leave the Direct Relief warehouse later today, including a shipment of insulin headed for Stigler Health and Wellness Center, a clinic in Oklahoma.

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