At least 88 people are now confirmed to be dead after approximately 30 tornadoes hit parts of Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee. More than 120 people remain missing, according to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. Kentucky bore the worst of the storm, with 74 people killed. Several communities in the western part of the state were completely devastated by the storm, and 15 counties remain under an emergency disaster declaration.
Yesterday, Direct Relief shipped over-the-counter products and requested supplies to ARcare, a Federally Qualified Health Center with locations in western Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi. Those supplies, including nutritional supplements, allergy medications, aspirin, and pediatric care items, arrived today at a shelter currently housing 75 people in Mayfield, Kentucky, where ARcare is treating patients via a mobile unit.
Mayfield was one of the worst-hit towns, with aerial footage showing entire blocks reduced to rubble. A local candle factory there collapsed, killing at least eight workers.
An additional shipment is leaving Santa Barbara today, bound for an ARcare facility in Paducah, Kentucky, before being transported to the Mayfield location. The shipment includes baby formula, antibiotics, lidocaine, wound care products, cardiovascular drugs, nutritional supplements, insulin, Tdap vaccines, and medicines for asthma.
After natural disasters, patients, especially from vulnerable communities with chronic diseases, often face obstacles accessing medications they rely on to manage their conditions. These can include transportation hurdles, medicine shortages, and interruptions to the power supply needed to keep some medicines within a specific range of temperatures.
To help address power supply shortages, Direct Relief is shipping two SunKit portable solar generators to the Second Christian Church in Mayfield, which is acting as a donation distribution point for the town.
Direct Relief began responding to the disaster on Saturday by reaching member clinics in impacted areas. No clinics reported damage but are treating patients in the regions that have faced, in some cases, catastrophic damage. Direct Relief is also coordinating with the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) at the national and state levels.
Additional reporting contributed by Leighton Jones and Annie Vu.