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Operational Update: $10 Million in Support for Ukrainian Refugees; Medical Support Continues

Since February 24, Direct Relief has provided medical aid more than 254 tons in weight and almost 50 million defined doses of medication, with more on the way.


Ukraine Relief

A mother plays with and puts a cover on her son on the way between Medyka and Przemyśl in Poland. The war in Ukraine forced many to flee to neighboring countries, and Direct Relief has worked to support Ukrainian refugees this year, as well as strengthening the health system of Ukraine itself. (Photo by Oscar Castillo for Direct Relief)

Over the past seven days, Direct Relief delivered 462 shipments of requested medical aid to 43 U.S. states and territories and 14 countries worldwide, including Ukraine.

The shipments contained 24.9 million defined daily doses of medication, including PPE, Covid-19 therapies, diabetes medication, and cancer treatments.

This week, Direct Relief, working with the Polish health care company Pelion S.A., announced $10 million in a direct cash assistance initiative enabling Ukrainian refugees in Poland to obtain prescription medications at no cost.  Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Poland, many of whom have no means to pay for much-needed prescriptions, will receive medical care in the neighboring country. But prescription costs still serve as a barrier to access, which this program will address.

“The initial funding of $10 million comes from contributions by thousands of individuals deeply concerned about the welfare of Ukrainians who have had their lives upended and threatened. This approach connects that amazing generosity in a practical, important way to the Ukrainian people for whose benefit Direct Relief received the funds,” said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe.

New Featured Documentary

CREDITS: A Direct Relief Production Director & Editor: Oliver Riley-Smith EP: Noah Smith Director of Photography, Ukraine: Oscar B. Castillo Director of Photography, Santa Barbara: Will Jobe Translations: Sam Tkachuk and Albina Popova Very Special Thanks: Hospital of Saint Nicholas (Lviv), Charity Fund Modern Village and Town, Dr. Zoryana lvanyuk, Dr. Iaroslava Kos, Caroleana Kvaterchuk, Dan Polonka, Meredith Riley-Smith

This short documentary, filmed across Santa Barbara, Lviv, and the Ukraine-Poland border, captures stories from the early days of the war, and offers a lens into the heroism exhibited by healthcare providers and refugees alike amidst war as well as how an aid organization ramps up to deliver tons of supplies into a warzone thousands of miles away

Ukraine Response to Date

Since February 24, Direct Relief has provided medical aid more than 254 tons in weight and almost 50 million defined doses of medication, with more on the way.

In response to a recent levothyroxine shortage, a drug used to treat impaired thyroid function, Direct Relief has shipped 14 million doses – totaling above 30,000 pounds – to Ukraine’s Ministry of Health at their request, and to Charity Fund Modern Village and Town, for distribution to health facilities serving people affected by the conflict.

According to Dr. Robert McConnell, a physician at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and expert in radiation-caused thyroid disease, a pharmaceutical manufacturer of the medication was destroyed by artillery fire. Ukrainians “haven’t had any levothyroxine available locally since the second week of the war,” he said. “Now we have these young adults who were exposed to Chernobyl, and they’re without thyroid hormone.”

Charity Fund Modern Village and Town, a Ukrainian NGO, receives a shipment containing levothyroxine for distribution to people affected by the war. (Photo courtesy of Charity Fund Modern Village and Town)

Direct Relief is in contact with Ministries of Health throughout the region to assess needs and is sharing information with the U.N., the European Commission, and the World Bank to coordinate relief efforts.

In the News

  • Politico: Ukraine’s drug runners risk it all to deliver medicines to the front line “The country’s NGO sector is also ramping up operations, including California-based Direct Relief, which has already provided disaster relief to conflict zones in Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Venezuela. But with Ukraine, “the combination of speed and scale of the disruption … make it quite exceptional,” said Andrew Schroeder, vice president for research and analysis at Direct Relief. Since February, Direct Relief has delivered nearly 200 metric tons of medical equipment, including refrigerated insulin to address a “critical” supply shortage in Ukraine — as well as a 50-bed field hospital donated by the State of California.”
  • BBC News: Ukraine war: Fortnite maker Epic Games raises $144m (£110m) to help victims“Together with the Fortnite community and Xbox, we raised $144m for Direct Relief, Unicef, UN World Food Program, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and World Central Kitchen in support of their humanitarian relief efforts for people affected by the war in Ukraine,” Epic wrote in a blog post.
  • ReliefWeb: Operational Update: 294 Medical Aid Shipments to 10 Countries, Ukraine and the US IncludedAnother eight-ton shipment of medical aid arrived in Moldova to support its health system as it welcomes Ukrainians fleeing war. Cancer therapies, mental health medications and respiratory therapies, among other medications, were part of the requested shipment.”
  • Cheddar: Meta on How It’s Using Data Tech to Provide Aid to War-Torn Ukraine
  • KEYT: Direct Relief ships out Project Joint Guardian firefighting gear for Ukraine – “Teams will be outfitted with search and rescue gear, personal protective equipment, and emergency medical backpacks. The supplies were collected during the past couple of weeks from fire stations across California, including Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria Summerland and Ventura. Stations down the coast in Southern California and Moreno Valley and as far north as Salinas also donated surplus gear. The collection was packed at Direct Relief’s warehouse in Santa Barbara. It is slated to ship out to Poland on Wednesday. Once in Europe, the team will assist and help train first responders in Poland and Ukraine.”
  • Santa Barbara News-Press: Direct Relief helps effort in Ukraine“Direct Relief and Project Joint Guardian, a San Diego-based international network of volunteer firefighters, have partnered together to provide technical gear and search and rescue training to firefighters and search and rescue teams in Ukraine. The supplies have been donated by fire stations across the U.S. with much of it coming from California. Direct Relief’s role in the effort was to provide a $50,000 grant to help fly the firefighters to Ukraine, said Tony Morain, the nonprofit’s vice president of communications.
  • KEYT: Crafters’ crocheted sunflowers help Direct Relief’s efforts in Ukraine“Small, yellow and brown crocheted flowers, the symbol of peace and unity for Ukraine, handmade by a group of residents at the Samarkand Retirement Community. “I was so upset when the war started, as we all were, and I thought, ‘Well, I can’t go over there and do anything so, what can I do? Well, I can crochet,'” said Jeri Moulder. She and a group of ladies got to work with yarn, ribbons, glue guns and safety pins, then set up a donation jar. Their goal was to raise $3,000.00 for Direct Relief’s efforts in the war-torn region. “We probably made about 150 pins. We raised $8,127 dollars! I was stunned, I was just totally blown away. Samarkand rocks,” Moulder said with a laugh.


This week, outside the U.S., Direct Relief shipped more than 23.5 million defined daily doses of medication.

Countries that received medical aid over the past week included:

  • Ukraine
  • Egypt
  • Malawi
  • Brazil
  • Georgia
  • Haiti
  • Nepal
  • Lebanon
  • Sudan
  • Uganda


Direct Relief delivered 427 shipments containing 1.4 million doses of medications over the past week to organizations, including the following:

  • Welvista, South Carolina
  • NC MedAssist, North Carolina
  • Jefferson Comprehensive Health Center, Inc., Mississippi
  • CommunityHealth, Illinois
  • Faith Family Medical Clinic, Tennessee
  • Faith Community Health Center, South Dakota
  • Santa Clara County, California
  • Whole Family Health Center, Florida
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul/St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy, Texas
  • UNC Health Care, North Carolina


Since January 1, 2022, Direct Relief has delivered 5,380 shipments to 1,348 healthcare organizations in 51 U.S. states and territories and 66 countries.

These shipments contained 133.6 million defined daily doses of medication valued at $560.8 million (wholesale) and weighing 7.3 million lbs.

Ukraine Relief

Direct Relief is deploying emergency medical aid, from oxygen concentrators to critical care medicines – while preparing longer-term assistance to people in Ukraine displaced or affected by the war.

Giving is Good Medicine

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