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Operational Update: Responding to Hurricanes Ian and Fiona, Cholera Outbreak in Syria, and More 

Thirteen countries received medical aid over the past seven days as multiple disaster responses continued.



Direct Relief's Tom Roane and Marisa Barnes arrive at the Premier Mobile Health Clinic with medical supplies in Ft. Myers, Florida on Tuesday, October 4, 2022. Over the past month, Direct Relief has provided more than five tons of medical aid to support the health system across Florida. (Zack Wittman for Direct Relief)

Over the past seven days, Direct Relief has delivered 356 shipments of requested medical aid to 32 U.S. states and territories and 13 countries worldwide.

The shipments contained 12.9 million defined daily doses of medication, including antibiotics, antihistamines, cardiovascular medications, and more.

The organization is tracking multiple disasters across the globe and will continue to respond.

Hurricane Ian

Since Direct Relief began communicating with health organizations along the U.S. Gulf Coast on September 26 in preparation for Ian’s landfall, the organization has delivered 126 shipments of emergency medical supplies and medications to 58 healthcare providers in Florida.

The requested emergency products include antibiotics and wound care supplies, medications for chronic diseases including asthma and high blood pressure, solar generators, and more.

The pharmacy at the Family Health Services clinic in Ft. Myers, Florida on Tuesday, October 4, 2022. Direct Relief has been responding to health centers and free clinics to assess needs and deliver medicines. (Zack Wittman for Direct Relief)

This week, Direct Relief staff responded to a number of health centers and free clinics, delivering field medic packs for triage care and coordinating shipments of emergency medicines. One location visited was the Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine, a primarily volunteer-run health care clinic providing medical, dental, and mental health care to the working uninsured of Polk County, Florida.

Located in Central Florida, they experienced sustained wind gusts of almost 80 miles per hour, blowing down trees throughout the area and shutting off power to much of the community for three days. There was no significant damage to their health center, however, they lost a portion of their insulin products. Direct Relief is coordinating shipments of critical medical aid to support their operations, post-Ian.

Hurricane Fiona

Direct Relief held a community health fair in Hormigueros, a town in western Puerto Rico, where several rivers overflowed after Hurricane Fiona, causing severe water damage. The organization coordinated primary and mental healthcare services and delivered 200 boxes of food and water, and personal care items. (Direct Relief photo)

Direct Relief continues to support communities affected by Hurricane Fiona in the south and western regions of the island.

Last week, Direct Relief staff participated in a community health fair in Hormigueros, a town on the western part of the island. Although the town is not on the coastline, several of its rivers overflowed causing severe water damage.

The team joined urban singer and doctor, PJ Sin Suela, community leader Milagros Martínez, volunteer resident doctors, and Migrant Health Center to provide primary and mental healthcare services and deliver 200 boxes of food and water, and hygiene kits. This effort impacted five communities, including Valle Hermoso, San José, San Romualdo, Olla Grande, and Hoyo.

On Saturday, October 1, Direct Relief staff in collaboration with Med Centro arrived in Guayanilla to serve families in the area, which was completely flooded following the passage of Fiona. Volunteers from the Baldwin School of Puerto Rico, St. Johns, and Common Wealth helped distribute over 250 boxes of food, water, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies and school packs.

Direct Relief’s Ivonne Rodriguez-Wiewall in the community of La Playa, which was severely flooded. (Direct Relief photo)


Syria’s cholera outbreak continues to spread with the death toll rising to 39 and a total of 594 confirmed cases recorded across 11 of its 14 provinces since late last month, according to the Syrian Ministry of Health. Additionally, more than 10,000 suspected cases have been reported in the past six weeks according to the World Health Organization. The disease is making its first major comeback in Syria since 2009, where nearly two-thirds of water treatment plants, half of the pumping stations and one-third of water towers have been damaged in the country’s decade-long war.

Direct Relief has been in contact with Syrian American Medical Society since the first cholera cases were reported and shipped an initial consignment of requested medicines. The shipment included water purification tablets, oral rehydration therapies, medication for hypothyroidism, and prenatal vitamins.


Since February 24, Direct Relief has provided medical aid to Ukraine weighing more than 1.9 million pounds, or 950 tons, with more on the way.

Over the past seven days, shipments including rare disease and cancer therapies, nutritional supplements, cardiovascular medications, surgical supplies and more departed Direct Relief’s warehouse in California bound for Ukraine.

Pakistan Floods

Fifteen tons of medical aid have been shipped or are in process in response to deadly flooding in Pakistan that has impacted a third of the country, with millions displaced from their homes. Waterborne illness and food shortages are stressing the country’s health system, and Direct Relief has been in contact with the Medical Directorate of Pakistan as well as Murshid Hospital & Health Care Centre and Marafie Foundation to coordinate medical aid shipments.

A 23-pallet emergency shipment to the Medical Directorate of Pakistan is packed in Direct Relief’s warehouse in Santa Barbara, California, last month. The donation contains chronic care medications, trauma care supplies, hygiene kits, birth control, anti-seizure medications, PPE, and prenatal vitamins. These supplies will be distributed to public health facilities providing care to the 33 million people that were impacted by the widespread flooding. (Maeve O’Connor/Direct Relief)

Those shipments have included gastrointestinal drugs, antibiotics, respiratory therapy medications, nutritional products, and glucose strips for use in mobile medical camps serving displaced people. The organization is also coordinating shipments of insulin to support children and young people living with Type 1 diabetes in Pakistan as part of the Life for a Child program.

Tropical Storm Julia

Tropical Storm Julia could strengthen to hurricane status this weekend before making landfall in coastal areas of Nicaragua on Sunday. As much as 12 inches of rain are possible in central Nicaragua, which could lead to dangerous flash flooding in the country, as well as in parts of southern Honduras and eastern El Salvador.

Direct Relief is in communication with the Pan American Health Organization, the branch of the World Health Organization that focuses on the Americas, as well as local nongovernmental organizations responding. Direct Relief will monitor the storm and respond as necessary.



This week, Direct Relief shipped more than 12.3 million defined daily doses of medication outside the U.S.

Countries that received medical aid over the past week included:

  • Ukraine
  • Sri Lanka
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • India
  • Syria
  • Armenia
  • Pakistan
  • Tunisia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Fiji


Direct Relief delivered 327 shipments containing 541,603 doses of medications over the past week to organizations including the following:

  • Welvista, South Carolina
  • Community Care Center, North Carolina
  • Urban Health Plan, Inc., New York
  • First Refuge Ministries Medical Clinic, Texas
  • Community Health of East Tennessee, Tennessee
  • Project Lazarus, North Carolina
  • Open Door Health Center, Florida
  • Agape Clinic, Texas
  • Norwalk Community Health Center, Connecticut


Since January 1, 2022, Direct Relief has delivered 15.1K shipments to 2,036 healthcare providers in 53 U.S. states and territories and 87 countries.

These shipments contained 462.4 million defined daily doses of medication valued at $1.4 billion (wholesale), totaling 10.1 million lbs.


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