News publications and other organizations are encouraged to reuse Direct Relief-published content for free under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International), given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

When republishing:

  • Include a byline with the reporter’s name and Direct Relief in the following format: "Author Name, Direct Relief." If attribution in that format is not possible, include the following language at the top of the story: "This story was originally published by Direct Relief."
  • If publishing online, please link to the original URL of the story.
  • Maintain any tagline at the bottom of the story.
  • With Direct Relief's permission, news publications can make changes such as localizing the content for a particular area, using a different headline, or shortening story text. To confirm edits are acceptable, please check with Direct Relief by clicking this link.
  • If new content is added to the original story — for example, a comment from a local official — a note with language to the effect of the following must be included: "Additional reporting by [reporter and organization]."
  • If republished stories are shared on social media, Direct Relief appreciates being tagged in the posts:
    • Twitter (@DirectRelief)
    • Facebook (@DirectRelief)
    • Instagram (@DirectRelief)

Republishing Images:

Unless stated otherwise, images shot by Direct Relief may be republished for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution, given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

  • Maintain correct caption information.
  • Credit the photographer and Direct Relief in the caption. For example: "First and Last Name / Direct Relief."
  • Do not digitally alter images.

Direct Relief often contracts with freelance photographers who usually, but not always, allow their work to be published by Direct Relief’s media partners. Contact Direct Relief for permission to use images in which Direct Relief is not credited in the caption by clicking here.

Other Requirements:

  • Do not state or imply that donations to any third-party organization support Direct Relief's work.
  • Republishers may not sell Direct Relief's content.
  • Direct Relief's work is prohibited from populating web pages designed to improve rankings on search engines or solely to gain revenue from network-based advertisements.
  • Advance permission is required to translate Direct Relief's stories into a language different from the original language of publication. To inquire, contact us here.
  • If Direct Relief requests a change to or removal of republished Direct Relief content from a site or on-air, the republisher must comply.

For any additional questions about republishing Direct Relief content, please email the team here.

Dams Fail in Central Michigan, Causing Thousands to Flee

Heavy rains caused what Michigan's governor described as a 500-year flood, while Covid-19 was an additional concern for people in shelters.


Extreme Weather

Flooded streets in Midland, Michigan. (Photo courtesy of the city of Midland)

Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes in central Michigan after two dams failed, causing severe flooding.

The Edenville Dam and Sanford Dam failed after days of heavy rainfall across the state, causing what the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, described as a 500-year flood. Residents in the neighboring towns of Edenville, Sanford, and Midland were forced to flee.

According to the city of Midland, 11,000 people were evacuated in under twelve hours, without casualties or major injuries.

Despite the pandemic, it was not possible to avoid placing some people in traditional shelters with shared facilities immediately, Brad Kieserman, vice president of disaster operations and logistics, told Direct Relief.

Eight shelters were originally opened for evacuees, with social distancing posing some challenges for emergency officials.

The goal, Kieserman told Direct Relief, was to find alternate accommodations for people displaced by the flooding.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Tittabawassee River in Midland County, cautioning that the river was a full 10 feet above flood levels, although they have since begun to recede.

A bridge flooded after heavy rains in Midland, Michigan. (Photo courtesy of the city of Midland)
A bridge flooded after heavy rains in Midland, Michigan. (Photo courtesy of the city of Midland)

Midland is the home of a Dow Chemical complex, which experienced flooding during the event and shut down some of its operations.

Even aside from the immediate danger, extreme weather events can cause problematic interruptions to primary care and even worsen chronic conditions as people evacuate without medication or vital supplies. While infectious disease is always a concern in shelter settings, Covid-19 adds a new layer of complication.

Direct Relief has reached out to partners near the affected area and is in communication with local hospitals. For the past several weeks, the organization has been actively supporting Michigan hospitals with coronavirus-related shipments.

The organization will continue to monitor the events in central Michigan, particularly in light of the added complications caused by Covid-19, and will offer assistance as needed.

Giving is Good Medicine

You don't have to donate. That's why it's so extraordinary if you do.