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Operational Update: Hurricane Recovery in Puerto Rico, Ukraine Response, Cold Chain in Nepal, and More

Sixteen countries received medical aid this week from Direct Relief.



Aid is distributed in Salinas, Puerto Rico, in Sept. 2022, shortly after Hurricane Fiona. Emergency response has continued in the weeks since, with more than $400,000 worth of medical support reaching Puerto Rico. (Photo by Alejandro Granadillo for Direct Relief)

Over the past seven days, Direct Relief has delivered 396 shipments of requested medical aid to 41 US states and territories and 16 countries worldwide.

The shipments contained 4.3 million defined daily doses of medication, including cardiovascular drugs, vitamins, personal care products, surgical supplies, PPE, and more.

Strengthening Cold Chain in Nepal

Nepal’s first modern cold chain facility is nearing completion and will help strengthen the country’s capacity to store temperature-sensitive therapies, including Covid-19 vaccines and other immunizations. An official handover took place in Kathmandu last week, and the cold storage facility is expected to come online in early 2023.

The building, which has a 1,500 sq. ft. footprint, moved forward thanks to a $275,000 grant from Direct Relief to strengthen the cold storage capacity of the health system. Following the severe Covid-19 outbreak in Nepal last year, Direct Relief offered Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population a donation of monoclonal antibody therapies from Eli Lilly.

The donation highlighted a critical need for expanded cold storage in the country, and Direct Relief committed $275,000 to build a dedicated cold chain building on behalf of the Ministry, complete with solar backup power. A handover occurred last week between local NGO One Heart Worldwide, a group that organized the construction project, to officials from the Ministry of Health and Population.

The handover of a new cold storage room, funded by Direct Relief, between One Heart Worldwide, which coordinated the construction project, and Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population. The cold storage room will be used for temperature-sensitive therapies, including vaccines. (Courtesy photo)

Direct Assistance for Ukrainian Refugees

More than 270,000 Ukrainian refugees in Poland have received financial support through Health4Ukraine, a program funded by Direct Relief that pays for medication co-pays for those who recently arrived in Poland. The program is supported by a $15 million donation from Direct Relief and administered by Pelion, Poland’s largest healthcare company.

According to data from Pelion, most of those receiving support are women and children, and the program has been used by participants in just about all but three of Poland’s 380 local districts and more than half of all the nation’s pharmacies. Data from Pelion shows that $7.1 million has been spent by Health4Ukraine participants through the end of October. Of this amount, 36% was spent on non-pharmaceutical products in pharmacies, such as vitamins, medical devices, skin treatments, and supplies such as bandages. 35% was spent on over-the-counter drugs, and 29% on prescription drugs.

Supporting Diabetes Treatment in Poland

Recipients of pharmacy vouchers from the Polish Diabetes Association. Direct Relief provided the group with a $100,000 grant, which was used to fund vouchers so patients managing diabetes could purchase supplies like glucose meters and test strips. (Courtesy photo)

Another direct support initiative for Ukrainian refugees in Poland has also been in the works to connect people with supplies to manage diabetes. Direct Relief gave a $100,000 grant to the Polish Diabetes Association, which purchased more than 1,000 vouchers to use at local pharmacies for the tools needed to manage diabetes.

The association reported that “vouchers were distributed to dozens of help points for refugees with diabetes from Ukraine throughout Poland run by PSD Branches and Circles, and then transferred to the neediest people…mainly women, mothers with children, as well as the elderly, who often had to leave their homes suddenly, without being able to take their basic things. Some of them came to Poland without any means of subsistence and thus without the possibility of taking care of their health.”

Material Support for Ukraine

Since Feb. 24, Direct Relief has provided medical aid to Ukraine weighing more than 2.1 million pounds, or 1,038 tons, with more on the way.

This month, Direct Relief has provided critical emergency items to Ukraine, including field medic packs for triage care, antibiotics, nutritional products, gastrointestinal drugs, insulin pens, and more, including medical shipments provided to the World Health Organization for last-mile distribution in Ukraine.

Hurricane Fiona Update

A solar installation at COSSMA, a health center in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. The system, funded by Direct Relief, is now fully operational and provides energy for the clinic’s pharmacy, IT, dental facility, and lighting. (Courtesy photo)
  • More than $400,000 worth of requested medical supplies and medications were delivered to Puerto Rico. 
  • 7,146 lbs of requested medications were donated.  
  • 600+ personal care kits were delivered to displaced people. 
  • 400+ families have received healthcare services. 
  • 200+ volunteers deployed to community health fairs.
  • 126 emergency medical backpacks were distributed to first responders in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras. 
  • Nine power generators were delivered to patients relying on life-sustaining medical equipment. 



This week, Direct Relief shipped 2.8 million defined daily doses of medication outside the U.S.

Countries that received medical aid over the past week included:

  • Ukraine
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Fiji
  • Jordan
  • Israel
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • South Sudan


Direct Relief delivered 361 shipments containing 1.5 million doses of medications over the past week to organizations, including the following:

  • Lake County Free Clinic, Ohio
  • Family Health Clinic of Monon, Indiana
  • Mission Arlington Medical Clinic, Texas
  • Community Health Care System, Georgia
  • Community Health of East Tennessee, Tennessee
  • ODA Primary Care Health Center, New York
  • Free Clinic of Meridian, Inc., Mississippi
  • Triangle Area Network, Texas
  • Kanawha City Health Center, West Virginia
  • Hardeman County, Tennessee


Since Jan. 1, 2022, Direct Relief has delivered 17.9K shipments to 2,182 healthcare providers in 53 U.S. states and territories and 91 countries.

These shipments contained 509.8 million defined daily doses of medication valued at $1.5 billion (wholesale), totaling 10.7 million lbs.

Giving is Good Medicine

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