Global Update: Responding to Winter Storms and Tornadoes; $10 Million for Vaccinations; Covid-19 in the Brazilian Amazon, Ethiopian Conflict

Emergency and pandemic response continue across the globe.

News

Covid-19

Shipments of medical aid for Texas communities are prepped for departure at Direct Relief's warehouse on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)
Shipments of medical aid for Texas communities are prepped for departure at Direct Relief's warehouse on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)

In Summary

• As Texas confronted winter storms, power outages, and water supply issues, and North Carolina was hit by tornadoes, Direct Relief provided support to both states.

• The organization has committed $10 million to support safety net providers administering Covid-19 vaccines to vulnerable populations.

• Direct Relief is donating $530,000 to bring oxygen concentrators to the Brazilian state of Amazonas, which is experiencing a dire shortage.

• Ethiopia’s conflict has caused tens of thousands to flee. Direct Relief is supporting on-the-ground medical responders with a $250,000 grant and $60,000 in PPE.

• The Syrian conflict has made treatments for respiratory conditions hard to come by, and the pandemic has made accessing them even harder. Direct Relief, working with Merck, provided tens of thousand of inhalers to northwest Syria.

• A $100,000 grant to South Africa will refurbish and equip hospitals – and fund paramedics – as they deal with high numbers of Covid-19 cases.

 

Top Stories

As Historic Winter Storms Deluge Much of the United States, Direct Relief Provides Support

Snow falls in New York City Thursday as the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory starting at Thursday at 4 a.m. until Friday at 7 p.m. with up to 8 inches of snow expected in parts of New York City. Sweeping winter storms are impacting much of the U.S. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Snow falls in New York City Thursday as the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory starting at Thursday at 4 a.m. until Friday at 7 p.m. with up to 8 inches of snow expected in parts of New York City. Sweeping winter storms are impacting much of the U.S. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The situation: Below-freezing temperatures, power outages, and water supply issues have affected millions in Texas, while tornadoes have pummeled North Carolina. Approximately 50 people have died thus far.

The response: Direct Relief shipped nearly $500,000 in medicine and supplies to nonprofit health centers and clinics throughout Texas, including PPE, personal care products, and chronic disease meds. In North Carolina, the organization provided chronic disease medications including insulin and emergency medical items.

The impact: At precisely the moment when people are likely to need medical attention or to be separated from vital medications, nonprofit health care providers and pharmacies will be able to serve vulnerable patients.

Direct Relief Commits $10 Million to Health Centers Vaccinating Vulnerable Communities Against Covid-19

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Photor: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The situation: The nation’s health centers are hard at work vaccinating the United States’ most vulnerable populations, including people of color, people experiencing homelessness, and low-income individuals and families against Covid-19. But administering the vaccinations can be costly for a nonprofit health center.

The response: Direct Relief has committed $10 million in support of safety net providers administering Covid-19 vaccines to these and other vulnerable communities.

The impact: The funding will help these safety net providers meet the significant costs incurred while administering vaccinations.

Hundreds of Oxygen Concentrators Arrive in the Brazilian Amazon

Witoto indigenous tribe homes in the Parque das Tribos neighborhood of Manaus, Brazil. Severe oxygen shortages at hospitals in Brazil's Amazon prompted local authorities to impose a curfew and airlift patients to other states to deal with the onslaught of a second coronavirus wave. Photographer: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Witoto indigenous tribe homes in the Parque das Tribos neighborhood of Manaus, Brazil. Severe oxygen shortages at hospitals in Brazil’s Amazon prompted local authorities to impose a curfew and airlift patients to other states to deal with the onslaught of a second coronavirus wave. Photographer: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The situation: Dozens of Brazilians have asphyxiated in the state of Amazonas with oxygen supplies depleted. “We are in dire need of medical and hospital supplies, medical oxygen and the resources for the logistical support in order for these materials to be delivered as quickly as possible,” wrote Amazonas Governor Wilson Miranda Lima.

The response: Direct Relief is providing $530,000 to purchase 350 oxygen concentrators for the region.

The impact: The first 240 concentrators arrived in the capital city of Manaus to help fight the current wave of Covid-19.

Amid Ethiopia’s Conflict, Direct Relief Provides Funding, PPE

The Eri Yiakl Foundation distributes supplies to refugees in eastern Sudan. (Photo courtesy of Eri Yiakl Foundation)
The Eri Yiakl Foundation distributes supplies to refugees in eastern Sudan. (Photo courtesy of Eri Yiakl Foundation)

The situation: Conflict has erupted in the Ethiopian region of Tigray, displacing tens of thousands of people living in the region.

The response: The Eri Yiakl Foundation is providing on-the-ground medical care, PPE, and education about Covid-19 prevention to people arriving in Sudan. Direct Relief is supporting their work with a $250,000 grant and $60,000 worth of PPE.

The impact: Eri Yiakl’s medical team will provide care to patients with respiratory diseases, wounds, and chronic conditions and work on outreach and containment to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

For War-Torn Northwest Syria, Inhalers Arrive to Treat Respiratory Ailments

The situation: Medication shortages were already widespread in Syria, and inhalers were hard to come by. Now, health care providers are reporting that Covid-19 has increased the number of people with respiratory conditions.

The response: Direct Relief is delivering thousands of Merck-donated inhalers worth more than $4 million to northwest Syria.

The impact: Patients with Covid-related and other respiratory conditions will have access to vital medicine.

Supporting South Africa Hospitals, Paramedics Fighting Covid-19

Staff members at Settlers Hospital in Eastern Cape, South Africa display medical equipment. (Photo courtesy of Gift of the Givers)
Staff members at Settlers Hospital in Eastern Cape, South Africa display medical equipment. (Photo courtesy of Gift of the Givers)

The situation: Hospitals in South Africa are facing a new wave of coronavirus infections. The provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape have both been hit especially hard.

The response: Direct Relief is granting $100,000 to support hospitals and disaster response efforts in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.

The impact: The funding will support paramedics with CPAP machines, oxygen concentrators, and hospital upgrades.

 

In Brief

The United States

• This month, Direct Relief has shipped 1,192 medical aid deliveries totaling more than $9.8 million to 496 U.S. health facilities in 49 states and territories.

• The organization is supporting a new Race and Equity collaborative, designed to help primary care associations implement health equity, diversity, and anti-racism measures, with a $500,000 grant.

• Direct Relief has begun distributing Repatha, a drug provided by Amgen to treat an inherited form of high cholesterol. The organization will distribute 17,000 doses valued at $9 million.

• Health centers will play an essential role in White House plans to vaccinate vulnerable communities. Direct Relief has acquired two additional specialized refrigerators to aid in vaccine storage and distribution to support their efforts.

• Direct Relief also distributed 1,500 dental hygiene kits in Ventura County, California.

Around the World

• Since Feb. 1, Direct Relief has shipped 27 deliveries totaling $50.5 million in medical aid to health organizations in 25 countries.

• The Vaseline Healing Project, a joint initiative between Vaseline and Direct Relief that works to heal the skin of people affected by poverty or emergencies worldwide, has reached its five-year milestone of reaching 5 million individuals.

• Direct Relief purchased more than $40,000 in medicine and supplies to help stock a brand-new clinic in Sierra Leone and is shipping an additional eight pallets of medical supplies via ocean freight.

• A $125,000 grant from Direct Relief to a U.K. organization will help provide Covid-19 vaccines to 15,000 people experiencing homelessness in the London area.

 

Upcoming Webinar
Harvard and Direct Relief to Launch CrisisReady
Feb 26, 2021, 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM (PT)

The Inaugural Panel will address key methodological, regulatory, and translational challenges in applying big data to public health emergency response.

Panelists:
• Bernardo Mariano Jr., Chief Information Officer and Director Digital Health and Innovation, World Health Organization
• Leremy Colf, Director of Disaster Science, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services
• Alexander Diaz, Head of Crisis Response and Humanitarian Aid at Google.org
• Holly Krambeck, Program Manager, World Bank, Development Data Partnership (datapartnership.org)
• Nicholas K.W. Jones, Data Scientist, World Bank, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery

• In conversation with CrisisReady founders, Drs. Caroline Buckee (Harvard Chan), Satchit Balsari (Harvard Medical School), Andrew Schroeder (Direct Relief).

Register Today

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