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Global Update: Flooding in Kentucky, Sri Lanka’s Medication Shortages; Diabetes in Ukraine

A look at Direct Relief's global activities.



Flooding in Kentucky. Photo: Missouri Governor Mike Parson via Twitter

In Summary

  • In Kyiv, Ukraine, Direct Relief CEO Thomas Tighe attends a healthcare summit with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health and other local organizations, and a child in a bomb shelter begins a lifelong battle against diabetes.
  • In response to the extensive damage and loss of life caused by flooding in Kentucky, Direct Relief has committed an initial $250,000 to deploy emergency supplies and cover operational costs.
  • Sri Lanka is experiencing economic collapse and medication shortages. Direct Relief recently provided emergency medical supplies, including 22 pallets of insulin, to the hard-hit country.
  • Wildfires are blazing in California. In preparation, Direct Relief dispatched field medic packs to the California National Guard, and is in contact with local responders about ongoing needs.

Top Stories

An Initial $250,000 for Kentucky Relief

A car is submerged in flood waters along Right Beaver Creek, following a day of heavy rain in in Garrett, Kentucky, U.S. July 28, 2022. (Photo by Pat McDonogh/ Reuters)

The situation: Dozens of people have been killed by catastrophic flooding in Kentucky, and health care in the affected area has been severely compromised. At least four clinic locations have been completely destroyed, and several more are without water and stable electricity. Tetanus shots, medications and equipment for diabetes, CPAP machines, and much more are needed immediately.

The response: Direct Relief is preparing shipments of emergency medical aid to a number of safety-net partners in Kentucky. Since January of 2022, the organization has provided more than $1.3 million in requested medical aid to health centers and clinics in the state. 

The impact: Direct Relief staff members are working with state and local organizations to determine and meet ongoing needs.

Direct Relief CEO Thomas Tighe Reports from Kyiv, Ukraine

Tighe attended a healthcare summit in Kyiv with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health and other local healthcare organizations to discuss urgent and long-term healthcare needs resulting from the war.

Earlier this week, Tighe was named by The Nonprofit Times to its 2022 Power and Influence Top 50. The NPT called Tighe “the epitome of Malcolm Gladwell’s connector from Tipping Point. He seems to know everyone. Tighe makes everyone feel as if their work is game-changing, which involves Direct Relief in everything from solar hubs to healthcare to equity around the world.”

A Child Confronts Diabetes in a Kyiv Bomb Shelter

One-year-old Polina, newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, plays with her mother in the basement bomb shelter of the Ohmatdyt National Specialized Children’s Hospital in Kyiv. (Photo courtesy of Ohmatdyt National Specialized Children’s Hospital)

The situation: One-year-old Polina developed diabetes in the midst of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. She is one of a number of children whose daily battle to survive is playing out at Ohmatdyt, Ukraine’s main children’s hospital.

The response: Humanitarian aid for Ukrainian patients with diabetes has been extensive. Since the invasion, Direct Relief has secured and delivered 733,800 insulin pen needles, 188,833 10 ml insulin vials, nearly 25,000 glucose meters with 400,000 test strips, and over 3.2 million oral diabetes tablets equivalent to almost 1.5 million daily defined doses.

The impact: A doctor at Ohmatdyt reported that there are currently sufficient supplies (including donated supplies) of insulin, blood glucose meters and testing strips at the hospital.

As Sri Lanka Experiences Medication Shortages, A Major Insulin Shipment Arrives

Emergency medical aid is staged in Direct Relief’s warehouse for shipment to Sri Lanka on July 27, 2022. (Maeve O’Connor/Direct Relief)

The situation: Sri Lanka imports more than 80% of its medical supplies, the Guardian reported. Economic collapse has meant the country is no longer able to import sufficient quantities of essential medicines.

The response: Direct Relief shipped medical supplies to the hard-hit country, including 22 pallets of insulin in partnership with Life for a Child.

The impact: The insulin, which is an annual supply for 212 children and young adults managing Type 1 diabetes, will be distributed to eleven hospitals and healthcare facilities around the country in coordination with the Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists.

Preparing to Respond as Wildfire Season Sparks

Fire crews from across California are responding to the Oak Fire currently burning near Yosemite National Park. (Photo courtesy of the City of Pasadena)

The situation: California wildfires have already forced thousands to evacuate. Inevitably, these disasters create an increase in medical need, from direct effects like respiratory distress to the unmanaged chronic conditions and interrupted care that result from people having to flee.

The response: Wildfire preparation and response is part of Direct Relief’s ongoing work. A shipment of field medic packs was recently dispatched to the California National Guard, and Direct Relief is in contact with response agencies to assess and prepare for ongoing needs.

The impact: When an emergency such as a wildfire occurs, requests for medical assistance are often made in the days and weeks afterward, as health care providers, emergency response managers, and others on the ground take stock of medical needs. Direct Relief is prepared to meet a wide range of requests for medical support in the coming days and weeks.

In Brief

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Around the World

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