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Operational Update: Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins, Ambulances Arrive in Ukraine, and More

Medical aid shipped to eight countries over the past seven days.



On May 18, 2023, Direct Relief staff delivered a hurricane prep pack to Vieques, Puerto Rico. As part of Direct Relief’s Hurricane Preparedness Program, established in 2006, the organization pre-positions hurricane preparedness packs each year in secure locations near vulnerable areas, providing partner facilities with the medications and medical supplies they’d need in case of a storm. Each is stocked with enough materials to treat 100 patients for 72 hours. (Photo by Xavier Garcia for Direct Relief)

Over the past seven days, Direct Relief has delivered 214 shipments of requested medical aid to 37 U.S. states and territories and eight countries worldwide.

The shipments contained 12.7 million defined daily doses of medication, including prenatal vitamins, rare disease therapies, emergency medical backpacks, PPE, antibiotics and more.

Atlantic Hurricane season begins

Atlantic Hurricane season officially started on June 1, and Direct Relief has been pre-positioning emergency medical supplies along the U.S. Gulf Coast, as well as throughout the Caribbean and Central America. The caches, called hurricane prep packs, or HPPs, contain the medical items most commonly needed in the wake of a disaster, including trauma supplies, antibiotics and wound care supplies, as well as medications for diabetes, hypertension, and respiratory, psychological and gastrointestinal ailments.

Globally, Direct Relief is shipping 18 HPPs to countries in the Northern Hemisphere including Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Panama and St. Lucia. It will ship additional packs in November to Fiji and Vanuatu ahead of their cyclone season.

The packs are designed to be opened in case of emergency, and can bolster medical supplies should damaged infrastructure impact supply chains.

2022’s hurricane season saw the highest-ever number of hurricane preparation packs opened, deployed and utilized in the Caribbean and Central America. These included six HPPs in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic, one in Cuba (plus another one transported to Cuba from Panama), one in Honduras and one in Nicaragua, along with more than 100 emergency medical backpacks packed with supplies.

Read more here.

responding to volcanic activity in Mexico

Direct Relief delivered twenty field medic packs to the Mexican Red Cross last week for use by volunteers and emergency healthcare providers in areas impacted by volcanic ash. Popocatépetl, Mexico’s most active volcano, has created smoky conditions and prompted school closures and canceled flights. Direct Relief has also sent a shipment of 1 million N95 masks for distribution to the areas affected by volcanic ash fall.

Field medic packs from Direct Relief were delivered to the Mexican Red Cross last week to equip first responders as volcanic activity continued in the region. (Photo by Brian Guerrero for Direct Relief)

Responding to Typhoon Mawar

Direct Relief is preparing shipments of insulin and other requested medical aid after Typhoon Mawar impacted Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, both U.S. Territories, over the past week. Residents of Guam are dealing with infrastructure damage, water supply issues and widespread power outages after experiencing hurricane-force winds and overwhelming rainfall over the past 36 hours. Despite significant wind damage and flooding, early reports by Guam’s local government indicate that no fatalities or major injuries occurred.

Direct Relief was in communication pre-landfall with the regional office of the Administration of Strategic Preparedness & Response within US Health & Human Services located in Guam, which covers all Pacific island territories and offered assistance and currently available inventory. Direct Relief’s available inventory was also shared with the public health departments in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Direct Relief is in the process of preparing shipments of medical aid for the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority, and the deliveries include requested insulin, tetanus vaccine, and other medication. Direct Relief is also in the process of dispatching a hurricane preparedness pack to the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan) for use on the islands of Rota, Tinian, and Saipan.

Ambulances arrive in Ukraine

This week, 15 donated emergency vehicles, including ten ambulances and five fire engines, were delivered to Ukraine to support first responders, with the transport costs of the vehicles funded by Direct Relief. The deliveries were made in coordination with the Ukrainian Consulate out of Chicago and the UA Resistance Foundation, also out of Chicago, and others that were able to create a reliable process for securing, shipping, and placing donated U.S. ambulances, fire engines, and supplies in the hands of those in need in Ukraine.

Since Feb. 24, 2022, Direct Relief has provided medical aid to Ukraine weighing more than 2.8 million pounds, or 1,400 tons, with more on the way.



This week, Direct Relief shipped 12.9 million defined daily doses of medication outside the U.S.

Countries that received medical aid over the past week included:

  • Ukraine
  • Tanzania
  • The Bahamas
  • Liberia
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Syria
  • Mexico


Direct Relief delivered 202 shipments containing more than two tons of medications over the past week to organizations, including the following:

  • Cape Fear Clinic, Inc, North Carolina
  • Clinica Esperanza, Rhode Island
  • Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition Inc., Connecticut
  • Washington State Department of Health, Washington
  • Wellness Pointe, Texas
  • Kinston Community Health Center, North Carolina
  • Community Care Clinic of Dare, North Carolina
  • Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Phoenix Children’s Hospital Hemophilia Treatment Center, Arizona
  • Roane County Family Health Care, West Virginia


Since Jan. 1, 2023, Direct Relief has delivered 7,471 shipments to 1,681 healthcare providers in 53 U.S. states and territories and 64 countries.

These shipments contained 248.6 million defined daily doses of medication valued at $796.1 million (wholesale), totaling 3.1 million lbs.

Giving is Good Medicine

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