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Support Arrives for Turkey & Syria, Cyclone Mocha Response, and More

Direct Relief's Humanitarian Activity for the week of 05/05/2023 - 05/12/2023


Operational Update

Medical aid from Direct Relief arrives in Adana, Turkey, on May 4, 2023, for transport to earthquake impacted areas of Turkey. (Photo by Francesca Volpi for Direct Relief)

Over the past seven days, Direct Relief has delivered 423 shipments of requested medical aid to 39 U.S. states and territories and 13 countries worldwide.

The shipments contained 18.5 million defined daily doses of medication, including antibiotics, personal care products, surgical supplies, and more.

continued medical support for syria & Turkey

On May 9, 69 tons of requested medicine and medical supplies arrived in Adana, Turkey, for distribution to Syria in response to February’s earthquakes. The shipment arrived via a Direct Relief-chartered 747 cargo plane and will be received by three on-the-ground organizations in Syria: the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), Independent Doctors Association, and Syria Relief and Development. This is the third fully loaded charter flight of medical aid Direct Relief has sent to Syria and Turkey since the earthquakes struck.

On Tuesday, May 9, 69 tons of requested medicine and medical supplies arrived in Adana, Turkey, for distribution to Syria in response to February’s earthquakes. (Courtesy photo)

Also this week, shipments of requested medical supplies, including field medic packs and kits containing personal care items for displaced people, were received in Adana, Turkey, and distributed by Direct Relief staff to communities impacted by February’s earthquakes.

Dr. Hande Arpat from Direct Relief delivered hygiene kits and field medic packs for triage care to field hospital voluntary personnel in İskenderun, Turkey, on May 6, 2023. (Photo by Francesca Volpi for Direct Relief)

The medical aid was delivered to local healthcare providers in clinics and field hospitals providing critical medical care to patients in the affected region.

covering medical costs for Ukrainian refugees

This week, it was announced that over 310,000 Ukrainian refugees in Poland received funds for medications and other pharmacy purchases in the past year as part of the Health4Ukraine initiative. The announcement was made at an event in Lodz, Poland, which included U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski, Pelion S.A. CEO Jacek Szwajcowski, Direct Relief CEO Thomas Tighe, and representatives of the Embassy of Ukraine, among others.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to Pelion and Direct Relief for launching the Health4Ukraine initiative,” said Ambassador Brzezinski. “As we gather here today, we celebrate the tireless efforts and dedication of all the individuals and organizations involved in this noble cause through their unwavering commitment to alleviate suffering and providing aid to those in need. They have shown that when we come together as a global community, we can overcome even the most significant challenges.”

Health4Ukraine received 15 million USD in funding from Direct Relief last year.

Read more about Health4Ukraine’s impact here.

Monitoring cyclone mocha

Cyclone Mocha is forecast to make landfall this Sunday along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. The India Meteorological Department estimates sustained winds of 100 to 115 mph at landfall. Myanmar and Bangladesh have deployed thousands of volunteers to the region and ordered evacuations from low-lying areas.

As of May 11, over 10,000 people have left for shelter, and more than two million people are expected to be exposed to the storm. The Bay of Bengal is highly prone to cyclones, and this storm comes weeks after the 15th anniversary of Cyclone Nargis, the deadliest natural disaster in Myanmar’s history.

Direct Relief is in communication with local healthcare partners across the region, including the Ministry of Health of Myanmar and HOPE Hospital in Bangladesh, ahead of the predicted landfall. In the last six months, Direct Relief has sent five shipments to Bangladesh, which included 10 tons worth of insulin, prescription drugs, and medical supplies, as well as a shipment of requested medications to Myanmar.

Direct Relief will continue to monitor the situation and respond as requested.

Material aid for Ukraine

Since Feb. 24, 2022, Direct Relief has provided medical aid to Ukraine weighing more than 2.7 million pounds, or 1,350 tons, with more on the way.



This week, Direct Relief shipped 17.7 million defined daily doses of medication outside the U.S.

Countries that received medical aid over the past week included:

  • Ukraine
  • Honduras
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Thailand
  • Zimbabwe
  • India
  • Ghana


Direct Relief delivered 400 shipments containing almost three tons of medications over the past week to organizations, including the following:

  • Delta Health Center, Mississippi
  • Health Service Alliance, California
  • Clearwater Free Clinic, Florida
  • Korean Community Services, California
  • Central Florida Health Care, Florida
  • Welvista, South Carolina
  • Grace Medical Home, Florida
  • Brevard Health Alliance Rockledge, Florida
  • Hands of Hope Medical Clinic, North Carolina
  • Community Care Center, North Carolina


Since Jan. 1, 2023, Direct Relief has delivered 6,092 shipments to 1,540 healthcare providers in 53 U.S. states and territories and 61 countries.

These shipments contained 211.6 million defined daily doses of medication valued at $684.7 million (wholesale), totaling 2.9 million lbs.

In The News

Santa Barbara humanitarian aid organizations respond to deadly East Africa cyclone – KCBX FM: Direct Relief’s Chris Alleway discusses the organization’s response to Cyclone Freddy in Malawi.

Teva Pharmaceuticals, collaborators team up to donate behavioral health meds to free clinics, pharmacies – Fierce Healthcare: “Launched last summer with humanitarian organization Direct Relief and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the program is aimed at expanding medication access for medically underserved patients.”

Fighting continues in Sudan as more than 100,000 escape and hospitals shut down – NPR 1A:Direct Relief’s Andrew Schroeder joined NPR’s 1A to discuss the current crisis in Sudan – refugees and migration, regional preparation for the influx of those on the move, and the state of/challenges facing humanitarian aid access into the country.

Direct Relief helps efforts for refugees from war with Russia – Santa Barbara News-Press: “Goleta-based Direct Relief continues to serve on the front lines of aid efforts with medical supplies and resources in Poland for Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war-stricken country.”

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