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Operational Update: Responding to Both Physical and Mental Health Needs Around the World



On May 21, 2023, Ukrainian NGO HromadaHub, supported by Direct Relief, conducted a field mission in the frontline city of Kherson under its “Food4Body, Food4Soul” project to provide food aid and emergency psychological support to the civilian population. “Together with Direct Relief, we took 14 psychologists there. That’s making history in the mental health field,” said emergency psychology trainer and mission leader Melinda Endrefy. The team conducted individual sessions with almost 70 women and children before the event was cut short amid reports of renewed shelling. (Nick Allen/Direct Relief)

Over the past seven days, Direct Relief has delivered 550 shipments of requested medical aid to 44 U.S. states and territories and 16 countries worldwide.

The shipments contained 6.1 million defined daily doses of medication, including vitamins, cardiovascular medicines, antibiotics and more.

Field Medic Packs Reach Mexico’s West Coast

Direct Relief field medic packs include items to provide triage care outside of clinic walls. (Courtesy photo)

This week, Direct Relief staff in Mexico delivered requested field medic packs to equip first responders in Nayarit, a state on Mexico’s western coast. The packs, which contain medical essentials to provide triage care, went to first responder agencies in cities of Tepic, Xalisco, and Bahia de Banderas.

Direct Relief staff deliver requested field medic packs to government agencies and first responders in the western Mexico city of Tepic this week. (Courtesy photo)

The packs, provided with support from FedEx, were requested as the region endures seasonal wildfires and is frequently affected by hurricanes.

A firefighter in the western Mexico city of Tepic receives a field medic pack from Direct Relief. The region is dealing with dry conditions that exacerbate wildfires and is also in a storm-prone region. (Courtesy photo)

New study finds Many Americans unprepared for natural disasters

A survey of more than 3,300 people in hurricane- and wildfire-prone states conducted for Direct Relief by Atomik Research has found how unprepared many residents of disaster-affected states are. Among those surveyed:

• Two in five (41%) of people said they would have enough medication on hand for only seven days or less if they had to evacuate right now
• Nearly half (47%) of people in at-risk areas say they don’t have a digital backup copy of their medical documents in case they lose access during an emergency.
• 77% of people living in these states express worry about their health if they did not have their medications during an emergency.

Read the full report here.

Many in the U.S. rely on multiple medications to manage chronic conditions and maintain their health. Access to medications is often interrupted during disasters, and can force people into the emergency room. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

Emergency Psychology training Underway in Ukraine

HromadaHub, a Ukrainian NGO, is currently providing emergency psychological aid trainings with funds from Direct Relief for first responders in frontline areas. During intensive five-day courses, more than 300 participants so far learned new skills that are applicable in crisis situations, rather than in serene surroundings one might expect in psychological care, like quiet rooms with deep armchairs and potted plants.

“By organizing the training, we are not giving the fish but the fishing rod to the psychologists so they can start helping their communities,” says the NGO’s head Lily Bortych. The goal is to build up the resilience and sustainability of the country’s psychological support system: “Ukraine doesn’t have to rely only on foreign specialists but can build up an army of trained emergency psychologists speaking the same language, living in the same area, and sharing the same problems with the people they help.” 

Read the full story here.



This week, Direct Relief shipped 4.32 million defined daily doses of medication outside the U.S.

Countries that received medical aid over the past week included:

  • Paraguay
  • Uganda
  • Togo
  • Central African Republic
  • India
  • Israel
  • Ukraine
  • Türkiye
  • Afghanistan
  • Dominica
  • Anguilla
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Mexico
  • El Salvador
  • Syria


Direct Relief delivered 525 shipments containing more than 11 tons of medications over the past week to organizations, including the following:

  • Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation, Texas
  • Open Door Health Center, Florida
  • St. Gabriel Eastside Community Health Center, Louisiana
  • Tarzana Treatment Center, California
  • Community Health & Emergency Services, Inc, Illinois
  • Samaritan’s Touch Care Center, Inc, Florida
  • CommunityHealth, Illinois
  • St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy, Texas
  • El Dorado Community Health Centers, California
  • HIV Alliance, Oregon


Since Jan. 1, 2023, Direct Relief has delivered 9,364 shipments to 1,857 healthcare providers in 55 U.S. states and territories and 70 countries.

These shipments contained 271.5 million defined daily doses of medication valued at $980.0 million (wholesale), totaling 3.3 million lbs.


Video: Why war is a problem in terms of potential politicisation of aid deliveries

Treating Autoimmune Diseases in Gaza: “Shifa Hospital is the main hospital in Gaza and there is always an urgent need for medicines that are constantly in short supply. That includes adalimumab, an injectable medicine to treat autoimmune diseases. Thanks to the medical donation program and a generous donation from Direct Relief, Anera has provided a shipment of the medicine to the Gaza hospital. The shipment also included cold chain medicines used in anesthesia rocuronium bromide.”

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