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Hurricanes and Tornadoes Prompt Emergency Response Activities Across U.S.

News

Extreme Weather

Kiamichi Family Medical Center was destroyed by a tornado on Nov. 7, 2022. (Courtesy Photo)

Deadly tornadoes spawning from a storm that stretched from Texas to Oklahoma over the weekend killed at least two people and damaged dozens of structures.

Among the buildings destroyed was Kiamichi Family Medical Center in Idabel, Oklahoma. The Federally Qualified Health Center serves 8,808 patients across southeast Oklahoma, including in the designated medically underserved areas of McCurtain and Choctaw Counties.

According to the most recent data from the Health Resources and Services Administration, 75 percent of the patients served by Kiamichi Family Health Center have a medical condition such as hypertension and diabetes, and 77 percent are below 200% of the federal poverty level, earning an income of $27,180 or less.

For these patients, losing their primary medical provider is devastating, especially as unmanaged chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure can result in medical emergencies.

In response, Direct Relief has committed an initial emergency operating grant of $50,000 to Kiamichi Family Health and will continue to support their efforts to recover and rebuild.

Hurricane Nicole

Tropical Storm Nicole is projected to land as a Category 1 storm on Florida’s east coast early Thursday morning with 75 mph sustained winds and 90 mph gusts.

Hurricane warnings are currently in place from Daytona Beach south to Boca Raton, while hurricane and tropical storm watches cover most of the rest of Florida.

The forecast then moves the storm northwest across the state over metro Orlando before shifting to the north late Thursday and heading up through the Tallahassee area and into the southern US at the end of the week. There is also potential for wind and rain impacts from this storm system along the entire East Coast, all the way up through Maine.

Direct Relief is in communication with state-level healthcare agencies in Florida and will continue to monitor the storm over the next few days.

Disasters like hurricanes disproportionately impact vulnerable people, including children, older adults, people without access to transportation, people with disabilities, and those for whom English is a second language.

To help mitigate the risk to vulnerable patients, Direct Relief prepositioned a dozen Hurricane Prep Packs in Florida at the start of hurricane season. The packs contain over 210 different products and have been refined and updated based on feedback from health centers and other medical providers. They include a range of antibiotics, syringes, basic first aid supplies, and medications to treat conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and severe allergic reactions.

Hurricane Ian

As Florida’s East Coast prepares for Hurricane Nicole, residents across the state are still recovering from Hurricane Ian, which made landfall in the Fort Meyers area on Sept. 28 as a Category 4 storm and caused widespread devastation.

More than 120 people were killed, thousands were displaced, and homes and infrastructure were damaged, amounting to an estimated $67 billion in losses.

Direct Relief has provided more than 435 emergency shipments containing 32 thousand lbs of requested medications and medical supplies in the weeks since. Direct Relief is also providing health centers and clinics in affected areas with emergency funding to cover a range of urgent expenses.

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