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Medical Support Reaches Flooded Areas in Mexico, Continued Response for Maui Fires, and More

Direct Relief's Humanitarian Activity for the week of 08/18/2024 - 08/25/2024


Operational Update

Fundación Astra staff opens up one of the donated field medic backpacks sent to their organization in collaboration with Protección Civil in La Paz, First responders and Firefighters in Centenario and Cabo. (Courtesy Photo)

Over the past seven days, Direct Relief has delivered 579 shipments of requested medical aid to 41 U.S. states and territories and 12 countries worldwide.

The shipments contained 13.7 million defined daily doses of medication, including first aid kits, vitamins, PPE, antibiotics, and more.

Shipments Arrive in Baja California in response to Hurricane Hilary

In advance of Hurricane Hilary’s potential landfall and impacts, Direct Relief communicated with state and local organizations in Mexico about potential medical needs. Recently, Direct Relief provided 18 emergency medical backpacks to the State of Baja, California, to equip first responders, and the packs contain medical essentials for triage care outside of clinic walls.

Last Friday, Direct Relief dispatched another infusion of medical support to the State of Baja California Sur, including ten emergency medical backpacks and an emergency health kit containing essential medicines and supplies often requested after hurricanes and other disasters. The products arrived this week at Fundacion Astra in Baja California Sur, a nonprofit that delivers acute and preventive health services to vulnerable populations, including children, at-risk youth, mothers, the injured, the chronically ill and the elderly.

Staff at Proteccion Civil inspects a recently arrived emergency health kit from Direct Relief. (Courtesy Photo)

Direct Relief was incorporated in Mexico as a Civil Association in 2014 and has been an authorized donee since 2015. As the only humanitarian wholesale distributor of pharmaceuticals operating in Mexico that is fully compliant with COFEPRIS regulations, it can receive in-country and process internationally donated goods and is positioned to respond to both immediate public health requirements and long-term healthcare service needs in underserved communities.

Maui Fire Response Continues

Direct Relief continues to field and respond to requests for medicines and medical supplies from clinics and emergency responders in Maui. Nine shipments departed from Santa Barbara this week filled with diabetes supplies, personal care items for people who are displaced from their homes, power banks, N95 masks, and first aid kits, among other items. A donation of naloxone, needles, and syringes was also sent to the Hawaii Health and Harm Reduction Center.

Last weekend, Direct Relief staff completed several in-person deliveries of supplies to aid distribution hubs in the Lāhainā area. Please see the photos and captions below to learn more. For a comprehensive overview of the organization’s response thus far, click here.

Honokōwai Beach Park is one of several aid distribution hubs in the Lāhainā area. Here, residents can access hot food, art therapy, fresh local produce, mental health services, medical care, and veterinarian care/pet food. (Brea Burkholz/Direct Relief)
Direct Relief’s emergency response team distributes Unite to Light solar chargers to residents, first responders, and volunteers at Honokōwai Beach Park, one of several aid distribution hubs in the Lāhainā area. (Brea Burkholz/Direct Relief)
Direct Relief grant recipient Hui No Ke Ola Pono’s mobile unit, at their office in Wailuku. Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit community-based health enhancement, disease prevention and health care center. (Brea Burkholz/Direct Relief)

Direct Relief Participates in ASEAN Disaster Resilience Forum

This week, Direct Relief staff in Singapore participated in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Disaster Resilience Forum and the ASEAN Strategic Policy Dialogue on Disaster Management.

The resilience forum and strategic policy dialogue bring together government and non-government agencies from across the ASEAN community to discuss ways to strengthen disaster response and resiliency within the region.

Gordon Wilcock, Direct Relief’s Deputy Director of Emergency Response, discusses emergency response initiatives with Lee Yam Ming, Executive Director of the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Centre.

Direct Relief has had a close partnership with the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Centre (AHA Center) for more than seven years now. This strategic relationship in the ASEAN region has been mutually beneficial, with Direct Relief supporting the AHA Center’s mandate with medical materials, grant funding, and information, and the AHA Center connecting Direct Relief with ASEAN member state governments as well as facilitating the delivery of medical materials during disasters in the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Cambodia. In addition, prepositioned disaster supplies, donated and procured by Direct Relief, have been dispatched by the AHA Center to multiple member states during disasters.

Most recently, Direct Relief supported the AHA Center with a grant for $270,000 that will enable them to localize their Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN ERAT) training in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

At this forum, Direct Relief staff continued the discussion around receiving medical aid donations from within the region. There remain large populations of need, a very high rate of natural hazards, high levels of vulnerability across many areas, and, at the same time, a load of pharmaceutical manufacturing and regional companies actively trying to engage in the humanitarian space.

From left: Krishna Putra Tanaja, Deputy Executive Director AHA; Gordon Wilcock Direct Relief’s Deputy Director of Emergency Response; Lee Yam Ming, Executive Director AHA; Dr. Agus Wibowo, Director for Strategy Development, BNPB (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana i.e., Indonesia’s ‘National Disaster Management Agency); Ledrolen Manriquez, Direct Relief’s Philippines Program Coordinator.



This week, Direct Relief shipped 8 million defined daily doses of medication outside the U.S.

Countries that received medical aid over the past week included:

  • Ukraine
  • Fiji
  • Malawi
  • Paraguay
  • Iraq
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Sudan
  • Guatemala
  • Lebanon
  • Uganda
  • Guyana

Also, Direct Relief issued a $108,000 grant to Medical Impact, a Mexico-based nonprofit with a mission of providing medical outreach campaigns to areas outside of the government’s coverage area. This grant will support their ongoing work in rural areas and help strengthen their capacity to respond immediately in case of a disaster.


Direct Relief delivered 560 shipments containing more than 19 tons of medications over the past week to organizations, including the following:

  • The Agape Clinic, Texas
  • EXCELth, Inc., Louisiana
  • Volunteers in Medicine, Florida
  • Crossroads Family Care, Texas
  • Guadalupe Clinic, Kansas
  • Orange Blossom Family Health Center for the Homeless, Florida
  • MAHEC Community Pharmacy at Biltmore, North Carolina
  • Roane County Family Health Care, West Virginia
  • Hawaii Health and Harm Reduction Center, Hawaii
  • Findley Foundation Inc. The Findley Foundation, Wisconsin

This week, Direct Relief issued a grant for $100,000 to NeoMed Center, Inc., a social-based nonprofit with eight sites across Puerto Rico, offering out-patient clinics, patient home visits, community pharmacy and outreach programs to low-income and uninsured populations. This grant will enable them to acquire a van-style mobile unit and extend their health services to farther reaches of the community with limited access to healthcare.

Additionally, El Punto en la Montaña, a community-based nonprofit with a mission to reduce drug-related harm caused by intravenous injections in the central area of Puerto Rico, received a $100,000 grant from Direct Relief. These funds will allow them to hire additional personnel to complement existing case management services, along with the purchase of a mobile unit, which will strengthen their capacity to expand participant services.


Since Jan. 1, 2023, Direct Relief has delivered 13,400 shipments to 2,126 healthcare providers in 55 U.S. states and territories and 79 countries.

These shipments contained 365.7 million defined daily doses of medication valued at $1.3 billion (wholesale), totaling 4.3 million lbs.

in the news

Emergency Humanitarian Aid on the Ground in Maui and California – NPR

Mental Health Services for Emergency Workers Gets Boost with Direct Relief and Yardi Systems Donations – Santa Barbara Independent

Direct Relief Provides Medical Supplies to Maui Wildfire Survivors – NewsNation

Direct Relief Sends Emergency Medical Shipments to Maui for Wildfire Response – Noozhawk

Direct Relief Deployed Medical Support to Baja California in Preparation for Hilary – Fox Weather

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