Florida is bracing for Hurricane Dorian, which may reach Category 4 strength as it moves ashore over Labor Day weekend.
The storm could pose a major threat to the southeastern U.S., and is currently churning through the Atlantic. Florida officials issued a state of emergency this week in preparation, and are urging residents to have enough food, water, medicines and emergency supplies for at least seven days. Dorian’s exact path, and the timing of its potential landfall, are still unknown, but the storm is expected to gather strength as it approaches the U.S. and the Bahamas over the coming days.
Direct Relief staff are on the ground in Florida and will be monitoring Dorian’s landfall throughout the weekend and any emergency response required. Fifteen caches of medicine have been pre-positioned across the state as part of the organization’s Hurricane Preparedness Program, which places the most commonly requested medicines after a disaster in storm-prone communities, before disasters strike.
A map of those caches, along with the storm’s current projected path, can be seen on the map below.
Direct Relief has been in contact this week with officials at the national, state and local level, including the National Association of Community Health Centers, the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the Florida Association of Community Health Centers and others to best assess needs leading up to the storm’s impact.
Direct Relief has been supporting facilities in the state with medical aid since 2009, and throughout multiple disaster responses. When Hurricane Michael decimated communities in the Florida Panhandle last October, Direct Relief responded with requested emergency medical supplies, and has since supported impacted health centers and clinics with backup generators, mobile units, and funding to repair damaged facilities, as well as ongoing support of medical inventory. During Hurricane Irma in 2017, five Hurricane Preparedness Packs were opened by staff at partner health facilities, and financial support was provided to cover unreimbursed repair costs, as well as equipment like generators and vaccine refrigerators to ensure health centers and clinics were ready for future disasters.
Since 2017, Direct Relief has provided $46.8 million in medical support to more than 122 recipients across the state.