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Operational Update: Responding to Fires in Maui, Health Support Globally Continues

Air support charter flight with medical aid for Maui is prepped for departure as emergency response kicks into high gear.



A shipment of N-95 masks, hygiene kits, and other medical products are packed and staged for shipment to Maui on Friday morning. (Brea Burkholz/Direct Relief)

Over the past seven days, Direct Relief has delivered 536 shipments of requested medical aid to 43 U.S. states and territories and 20 countries worldwide.

The shipments contained 12.5 million defined daily doses of medication, including first aid kits, vitamins, PPE, antibiotics, and more.

Response to Fires in Hawai‘i Underway

A wildfire rages on the island of Maui at the intersection of Hokiokio Place and Lahaina Bypass on August 9, 2023. (Photo by Zeke Kalua/County of Maui)

The wildfire impacting Lahaina in western Maui was 80 percent contained, with firefighters making progress on two other large fires burning across Maui. Approximately 80 percent of the town of Lahaina has been destroyed; the population of Lahaina was about 13,000 before the fire. The confirmed death toll from these fires now stands at 55 people.

There have been widespread communications challenges across the impacted area, including power, phone, internet, cell, and radio outages. Six shelters (five in Maui and one in Honolulu) were open as of Wednesday night and had reported over 1,000 total residents by Thursday evening. One of Direct Relief’s partners, ‘Malama I Ke Ola’ (Community Clinic of Maui), has a clinic site in the Lahaina fire zone that they have been unable to reach to assess the level of damage. They have other sites throughout Maui, including a mobile clinic and are currently assessing their needs and will then communicate with Direct Relief for needed support.

Direct Relief has been in contact with its existing 19 nonprofit partners organizations, as well as government and statewide organizations across Hawai‘i, sharing with them available inventory, including wildfire response kits and emergency medical backpacks, which contain medicines commonly requested after and during fires. Four shipments with requested wildfire kits, hygiene kits, emergency backpacks, and various medications have already been sent to the local nonprofit Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai‘i, whose staff is currently supporting relief efforts, and the shelters in Maui.

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai‘i received Direct Relief emergency medical backpacks to support medical care during the wildfires. (Courtesy Photo)

Direct Relief will continue responding to requests for medical products, which are anticipated to increase over the weekend.

Personal Care Products Reach Earthquake Survivors in Turkey

Six months after the Turkey/Syria earthquakes, life for survivors in Hatay province remains extremely challenging. Thousands are still displaced, living in tents or container shelters, with summer temperatures rising to over 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

In these conditions, which are ideal for the spread of infectious diseases, hygiene items are in high demand. In response, Direct Relief delivered an 80-ton (132 pallet) donation of requested personal care items from Kenvue, including feminine hygiene products, mouthwash, baby bath soap, and body wash to Adana Metropolitan Municipality (Adana MM). Adana MM has played a pivotal role in supporting neighboring Hatay province with both material aid and distribution logistics since the earthquakes. These items will be distributed throughout Hatay to increase both patient and medical staff’s level of comfort during this extended disaster response phase.

One of 4 truckloads received by Adana Municipality was staged before transporting to Hatay. (Photo courtesy of Adana Municipality)

Click here to learn more about Direct Relief’s response to the February earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

Hospitalito Atitlan in Guatemala Receives Medical Oxygen Equipment

Hospitalito Atitlan is a rural hospital in Guatemala that provides healthcare about 75,000 patients annually, primarily of indigenous Mayan background. Direct Relief recently purchased medical oxygen equipment for the hospital, which will upgrade its medical oxygen system and output, allowing it to expand and improve its health services and reduce its reliance on renting and purchasing oxygen cylinders.

These items are expensive, and their quick delivery is easily hindered by bad weather as the hospital is located in a rural part of Guatemala with poorly maintained roads, hours from the capital. Lyn Dickey, Hospital Director, thanked Direct Relief staff for “making this dream a reality.”

Roberto Silva, an engineer installing the donated equipment from Direct Relief, pictured at Hospitalito Atitlán to provide staff training for the facility’s new oxygen-generating system. (Photo courtesy of Hospitalito Atitlan)



This week, Direct Relief shipped 5.8 million defined daily doses of medication outside the U.S.

Countries that received medical aid over the past week included:

  • Iran
  • Ethiopia
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Ukraine
  • Burkina Faso
  • Syria
  • Uganda
  • Liberia
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Cambodia
  • Kenya
  • Morroco
  • Jordan
  • Bangladesh
  • Panama
  • Sierra Leone
  • Honduras
  • Guatemala
  • Madagascar
  • Tanzania


Direct Relief delivered 504 shipments containing more than 14.6 tons of medications over the past week to organizations, including the following:

  • Samaritans Touch Care Center, Inc, Florida
  • PanCare of Florida, Inc. Malone, Florida
  • Flagler County Free Clinic, Florida
  • Faith Community Health Center, South Dakota
  • James Valley Community Health Center, South Dakota
  • Crossroads Family Care Henderson Family & Dental Care, Texas
  • Barnabas Health Services, Florida
  • Hope Clinic and Care Center, Wisconsin
  • Franklin County Community Care, Texas
  • Community Care Center, North Carolina

In the past two weeks, Direct Relief also issued a $464,115 grant to Goshen Medical Center, Inc. to support the installation of a clean power system at two health clinics in North Carolina as part of its Power for Health initiative.

In addition, Fundación CAP, a mental health-focused nonprofit based in Puerto Rico, received its second grant payment of $50,000 ($100,000 in total) to fund two clinical psychologists who currently provide pediatric services to cancer patients of the Hospital Pediátrico de Puerto Rico’s oncology unit. The mission of Fundación CAP is to ensure that all pediatric cancer patients, regardless of their income, can enjoy access to the best quality care in Puerto Rico while staying near their homes and family.


Since Jan. 1, 2023, Direct Relief has delivered 12,400 shipments to 2,072 healthcare providers in 55 U.S. states and territories and 79 countries.

These shipments contained 339.4 million defined daily doses of medication valued at $1.3 billion (wholesale), totaling 4.1 million lbs.

in the news

Where to Give – Hawaii Wildfires – Charity Navigator

Direct Relief sends aid to Maui as death toll rises from raging wildfires – KEYT

How To Help Hawaii Wildfire Survivors Right Now – AOL

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

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