Emergency Update: Caldor Fire, Hurricane Ida, and Haiti Earthquake

Disaster response is ongoing for multiple major emergencies globally.

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Engines respond to the Caldor Fire, a blaze that has caused more than 22,000 residents to evacuate the Lake Tahoe area. Fires across California and the Western U.S. are active, and Direct Relief is supporting local health facilities with medical aid. (U.S. National Forest Service photo)
Engines respond to the Caldor Fire, a blaze that has caused more than 22,000 residents to evacuate the Lake Tahoe area. Fires across California and the Western U.S. are active, and Direct Relief is supporting local health facilities with medical aid. (U.S. National Forest Service photo)

A series of natural disasters, including wildfires and hurricanes, impacted the U.S. this week, while Haiti continues to recover from a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the country earlier this month.

A combination of existing relationships with disaster response agencies, safety-net health clinics, and government agencies, as well as data analysis and pre-positioned supplies, have enabled Direct Relief to respond efficiently and precisely to requests after each incident.

Wildfires

Fire crews respond to the Caldor Fire in Northern California on Aug. 30, 2021. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Fire crews respond to the Caldor Fire in Northern California on Aug. 30, 2021. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

THE SITUATION

  • The Caldor Fire in El Dorado County has grown to more than 191,000 acres, becoming the second-largest fire currently burning in California.
  • The blaze started August 14, 2021, and is 16% contained, down from 19% over the weekend.
  • All 22,000 South Lake Tahoe residents have been ordered to evacuate.
  • At least 472 homes and 11 commercial buildings have burned.
  • Five personnel and civilian injuries have been confirmed.
  • The Dixie Fire, the second-largest fire in California history, has burned more than 800,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
  • That fire started July 13, 2021, is 48% contained.
  • According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are 83 wildfires burning in 10 states across the U.S., the majority concentrated in Idaho, Montana, California, and Oregon.
  • Wildfires continue to burn in countries across Southern Europe, including in Greece, Italy, and Turkey, where several fires earlier this month caused major destruction to historic cities, ancient forests, and villages

WILDFIRE RESPONSE

Emergency medical aid is prepped and packed for El Dorado County Health Centers, in Placerville, California. The area is currently enduring impacts from the Caldor Fire, and the shipment included insulin, inhalers, Emergency Medical Backpacks for triage care, personal care products for evacuees and other prescription medications. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Emergency medical aid is prepped and packed for El Dorado County Health Centers, in Placerville, California. The area is currently enduring impacts from the Caldor Fire, and the shipment included insulin, inhalers, Emergency Medical Backpacks for triage care, personal care products for evacuees and other prescription medications. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
  • Direct Relief is coordinating with CalOES, the California Primary Care Association, and local Emergency Management and Public Health Departments to assess the health needs of communities affected by the Caldor and Dixie fires, as well as several others burning across the state.
  • Direct Relief has committed an initial $1 million to help support safety-net clinics and responders in fire-affected communities across the U.S. Shipments of medical aid have also departed for health providers, and health concerns include respiratory impacts from poor air quality and smoke.
  • An offer of assistance has been extended to health facilities in several Southern European countries currently experiencing or recovering from wildfires
  • Direct Relief’s emergency-response activities also include synthesizing a broad range of public and private data sources to map and analyze wildfire risk, social vulnerability, and population movement in fire-affected areas

Hurricane Ida

Utility poles lean over a street following Hurricane Ida on August 31, 2021, in Houma, Louisiana, after Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Utility poles lean over a street following Hurricane Ida on August 31, 2021, in Houma, Louisiana, after Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

THE SITUATION

  • Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday as a Category 4 storm, dumping up to 16 inches of rain in some parts of the state and causing major damage to homes and buildings.
  • More than 1 million people remain without power, which creates a dire situation for those reliant on oxygen or medical devices that require electricity.
  • With peak sustained winds of 150 mph, Ida is tied for the fifth-strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland.

HURRICANE IDA RESPONSE

Emergency medical supplies, including wound care, antibiotics and chronic disease medications, depart Direct Relief's warehouse for health providers responding to Hurricane Ida on August 30, 2021. The shipments included medical support for Rapides Primary Health Care Center in Alexandria, Louisiana, as well as CORE Response. Both organizations are conducting medical outreach and providing care to storm impacted communities. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Emergency medical supplies, including wound care, antibiotics, and chronic disease medications, depart Direct Relief’s warehouse for health providers responding to Hurricane Ida on August 30, 2021. The shipments included medical support for Rapides Primary Health Care Center in Alexandria, Louisiana, as well as CORE Response. Both organizations are conducting medical outreach and providing care to storm impacted communities. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
  • Direct Relief has committed $1 million in funding for the response and made its inventory of medical aid, including antibiotics, chronic disease medication, and over-the-counter products, available to 214 federally qualified health centers and free clinics across Louisiana, Mississippi, and other states in Ida’s path.
  • Emergency shipments are being prepared or are en route for providers treating patients in the New Orleans area, including Baptist Community Health Services, the Low Barrier Shelter, Odyssey House Louisiana, and City of New Orleans Shelter as well as Open Health Care Clinic in Baton Rouge, MLK Health Center and Pharmacy in Shreveport, and Rapides Primary Health Care Center in Alexandria.
  • Shipments include prescription medicines, wound care supplies, infection control medication, tetanus vaccines, insulins, personal protective equipment, hygiene items for evacuees, and solar-powered fridges.

Haiti Earthquake

Destruction seen in southwestern Haiti earlier this month after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake caused major damage. (Didi Farmer photo)
Destruction seen in southwestern Haiti earlier this month after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake caused major damage. (Didi Farmer photo)

THE SITUATION

  • Recovery efforts continue after a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti’s southern peninsula on August 14, 2021.
  • An estimated 2,200 people were killed and 12,000 remain missing or injured.
  • The quake toppled cement buildings, reduced homes to rubble, and damaged vital infrastructure, including hospitals and roads.

HAITI EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, and other requested medical aidf is loaded onto a flight for delivery to Haiti from Puerto Rico. (Photo by Jose Jimenez Tirado for Direct Relief)
Personal protective equipment, or PPE, and other requested medical aid is loaded onto a flight for delivery to Haiti from Puerto Rico. (Photo by Jose Jimenez Tirado for Direct Relief)
  • 79 tons of critical medical supplies, packed in Direct Relief’s California warehouse and shipped via a dedicated FedEx charter flight, have been received in Port-au-Prince where they are being distributed to affected areas.
  • Supplies on the flight included antibiotics, wound care items, PPE, diagnostic supplies, medical-grade freezers, IV fluids, medical relief packs, and essential medications.
  • Seven pallets of PPE, medical relief backpacks, and emergency shelters have been received by St. Boniface Hospital in Fond-des-Blancs from Direct Relief’s Puerto Rico distribution hub. Direct Relief has also provided St. Boniface with $250,000 in emergency operational cash support.
  • Direct Relief has approved $795,000 in grant funding to support health personnel responding to the Haiti earthquake.
  • When the earthquake struck, Direct Relief had three ocean freight containers of PPE and other medical supplies already en route to Haiti-based organizations Partners in Health, St. Boniface Hospital, and St. Damien Hospital.
  • In total, more than 192 pallets worth of medical aid from Direct Relief totaling $12.8M has arrived recently in Haiti, is en route, or is ready for deployment.

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