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Direct Relief Commits Initial $500,000 for Maui Fire Response, Continues Emergency Medical Deliveries


Hawaii Fires

Medical supplies deployed from Direct Relief to Maui in response to wildfires.

MAUI, HAWAII – Direct Relief, in response to the catastrophic Maui wildfires, announced today an initial cash commitment of $500,000 to aid affected communities and facilitate the timely and sustained delivery of urgently needed medical supplies to clinics, shelters, and state and local emergency response agencies with which is working.

The wildfires in Lahaina – the deadliest disaster in Hawaii’s history – have resulted in the loss of over 2,000 structures and claimed the lives of more than 80 individuals. With thousands seeking refuge in shelters across Maui and Honolulu, Direct Relief is actively addressing the pressing medical needs of these evacuees and aiding search and rescue operations.

The organization’s initial deliveries of emergency medical essentials were deployed in shelters in Maui earlier this week, and Direct Relief staff today are delivering additional requested medical essentials to Maui via ROAM air.

Today’s shipment includes numerous wildfire kits. These kits, developed in consultation with medical and emergency-response experts, aim to prevent emergency room visits during significant wildfire events. They contain vital medications, including inhalers, nebulizer solutions, irrigation solutions, antibiotics, analgesics, wound care products, and chronic disease medications.

Beyond the immediate risks of burns, wildfires can exacerbate pre-existing health issues. Airborne particulates can worsen respiratory or cardiovascular problems, even sending those affected to the emergency room, and people with chronic conditions can face acute medical crises if they evacuate without their medications.

At the request of Maui Search and Rescue, Direct Relief is also dispatching 20 emergency medical backpacks to bolster on-the-ground relief efforts.

Based on years of disaster response experience, the packs are tailored for paramedics and health professionals to use in the field and are the standard for the State of California’s Medical Reserve Corps.

Today’s delivery follows a series of emergency shipments deployed by Direct Relief this week, including requested medical resources that arrived with the local organization Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai’i.

The supplies were put to immediate use by medical personnel in Maui shelters and via a mobile medical unit caring for pregnant and post-partum individuals, newborns, and their families.

Healthy Mother Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii received Direct Relief Emergency Medical Packs for wildfire response activities.

Direct Relief has also made available its medical inventory, valued at over $300 million wholesale, to healthcare providers across Hawaii.

How Direct Relief Responds to Disasters

Direct Relief’s approach to disasters relies on long-standing collaborations with vetted local groups serving vulnerable communities. Their expertise, community trust, and existing protocols provide a foundation for the organization’s activities.

Over the past ten years, Direct Relief has provided local Hawaiian organizations with 15.6 tons of medical resources totaling 415,305 defined daily doses, as well as $2.14 million in grant funding.

With a history of responding to wildfires across the US, Direct Relief also is leveraging its expertise and technological resources for this crisis.

The organization’s data-driven tools, such as wildfire mapping applications and the CrisisReady initiative in partnership with Harvard, offer insights into wildfire risks and social vulnerability. Such tools inform emergency response officials and assist Direct Relief in its targeted efforts.

Direct Relief will continue to respond as the situation unfolds, coordinating with local clinics, Hawaii state health and emergency response officials, FEMA, and associations like the Society for Critical Care Medicine.

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