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Direct Relief Makes Available $100 Million in Medical Resources for California Storm Relief and Recovery Efforts


Extreme Weather

Direct Relief staff delivered emergency supplies to an evacuation center in Goleta California in response to devastating storms (Brianna Newport/Direct Relief)

As the impacts of flooding across California come into focus, Direct Relief is making available more than $100 million in medicine and medical supplies from its inventory to support relief and recovery efforts in communities affected by the storms.

At least 17 people have been killed statewide due to the series of storms since Jan. 1, and thousands evacuated under threats from flash flooding and landslides.

In Santa Barbara County, where Direct Relief is based, shelters were at capacity Monday night amid mandatory evacuation orders. To support evacuees and first responders, Direct Relief hand-delivered:

  • Emergency shelter beds
  • Personal protective equipment
  • More than 700 personal care packs with hygiene items such as soap and shampoo
  • Portable solar chargers for small electronics

Direct Relief has also dispatched more than 80 emergency shipments of medical aid to 66 health centers, free clinics and community organizations in 43 cities across California since Jan. 1, 2023.

As a California-based disaster relief and medical aid organization, Direct Relief has responded to disasters in California for decades, including the state’s many wildfires and the Montecito Mudslide, which five years ago killed 23 people and damaged more than 500 structures.

Direct Relief helped purchase a Firehawk aircraft for Santa Barbara County. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
A Ford Raptor donated by Direct Relief to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)

In response to past emergencies in California, including the Montecito debris flow, Direct Relief has equipped fire departments, law enforcement agencies, medical reserve corps volunteers and other first responders with critical resources, including ruggedized vehicles, search and rescue equipment, protective gear and more. Direct Relief has also established and administered victims’ funds and disbursed financial aid to community organizations providing essential services.

Direct Relief is a long-time partner of the State of California through its Office of Emergency Services and the California Department of Public Health. Direct Relief also serves as a key member of California’s Business and Utilities Operations Center, which mobilizes private resources for the public benefit during emergencies and ensures resources are deployed in coordination with public officials managing the response.

Direct Relief’s 155,000-square-foot medical distribution center, equipment, trained staff, and various other capacities are registered with the State of California as a strategic emergency resource and available for public health or emergency response purposes. The organization’s facility runs on redundant power sources, including a Tesla Microgrid, ensuring that the facility has a continuous power supply for temperature-sensitive medications.

In addition to backstopping public health and response agencies with needed emergency support, Direct Relief also works closely with nonprofit health centers and free clinics across California to provide supplies to care for people evacuating from or otherwise impacted by the storms.

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