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.

Texans Brace for ‘Above Average’ Hurricane Season

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency has predicted more named storms in 2021 than average. For Texans, the forecast conjures up memories of Hurricane Harvey.



Hurricane Harvey battered the Texas coast in August 2017, causing major flooding, property damage, and loss. (Bryn Blanks/Direct Relief)

With the Atlantic hurricane season well underway and the earliest fifth named storm already on the books, the U.S. Southeast is bracing for another active season. On the Texas Gulf Coast, the anxiety is palpable.

“Anytime there’s talk of any severe thunder or rain, of course, people get nervous,” said Cory McCray, the Chief Operating Officer at Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program (MEHOP). The health center serves under and uninsured individuals in Bay City, Texas—a rural town two hours south of Galveston.

“We’re having a couple of storms come through now and you can definitely see how that is affecting our patient volume in terms of people not coming to their appointments,” he said. People are scared of being stranded without their belongings because of flooding, or worse, a mandatory evacuation. That’s especially true for those who rely on public transportation or don’t have a vehicle of their own.

During Hurricane Harvey in 2017, a lack of transportation was a major issue for those trying to evacuate. “I would say close to 20% of the population stayed here during Harvey because they couldn’t get out,” said McCray. While emergency officials arranged for buses to pick up evacuees, “that’s if you can get to the Civic Center,” McCray explained.

Financial Stress

For those with limited resources, evacuating is not the only difficulty of hurricane season. Recovering can be costly. Many “don’t have this disposable income to where they can just pick up where they left off and start rebuilding their lives,” said Dr. Adlia Ebeid, the Director of Pharmacy Services at San Jose Clinic in Houston. The financial stress of repairing damaged homes and property “causes a mini mental health crisis,” she said.

Mental Health

In general, providers note heightened levels of anxiety, stress, and PTSD during hurricane season. “Mental health is something that we don’t talk about enough, but I definitely think there’s a huge impact, especially for our patients,” said Ebeid. While some patients experience stress, others relive memories of loss and trauma. The clinic provides behavioral health services, including counseling and psychiatry, at no cost to patients. Before and after a storm hits, these services are especially important, according to Ebeid.

A Direct Relief staff member passes off emergency medical aid, including chronic disease medication, to a health center impacted by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. (Bimarian Films/Direct Relief)

Unmanaged Chronic Disease

After addressing patients’ mental health concerns, “we start to look at other diseases…like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol,” said Ebeid. During the upheaval of a storm, people are more likely to skip their medication, potentially causing more serious health issues. If left “unmanaged for a certain period of time,” conditions, like hypertension and diabetes, can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other health emergencies.

But keeping those conditions stable in the midst of a disaster is difficult. For many, managing their chronic condition is the last thing on their mind when evacuating. “When you’re in disaster response and you’re grabbing your kids and clothes and pets and essentials, medications don’t always come” to mind, said Ebeid. To ensure patients have their medications in the aftermath of a storm, providers at San Jose Clinic help patients make go-bags with their prescriptions and instructions on use. In addition, staff do remote check-ins with patients that have been evacuated. In past seasons, staff would take home a list of patients and “grassroots start calling.” But now, the clinic plans to use telehealth to reach patients, which they’ve ramped up during the pandemic. The check-ins allow providers to “accommodate [patients] in a variety of different ways,” by, for example, shifting a patient’s prescription to a pharmacy closer to where they’re sheltering.

More Intense Storm Seasons

As storms become more frequent and more intense, providers are bolstering the resources they make available to patients. “Climate change definitely affects what we do,” said McCray, who cites an increase in behavioral health services. “I think for a lot of people it’s the whole process” of preparing and “the anxiety that takes over,” he said. “If you have to do it more than once, it really becomes a problem.”

This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency predicts an above average number of storms, even after redefining “average.” Now, “normal” refers to 14, rather than 12, named storms per season.

“Looking at this year…it could be worse than Harvey,” said McCray. “I’m not gonna stamp that, but at the same time the Earth is changing.”

In preparation for hurricane season, Direct Relief has pre-positioned caches of emergency medical supplies at health centers and clinics across the United States Southeast, including Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program and San Jose Clinic on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Giving is Good Medicine

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