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Maternal Health Update from Haiti, Brazil Flood and California Responses Continue

Direct Relief's Humanitarian Activity for the week of 06/15/2024 - 06/21/2024


Operational Update

In March, Maison de Naissance, a maternal health center, received an emergency operating grant from Direct Relief to maintain services during a period of significant political unrest and gang violence. Staff have continued care for mothers and babies, in their community. (Photo Courtesy of Maison de Naissance)

Direct Relief has delivered 587 shipments of requested medical aid to 44 U.S. states and territories and 10 countries worldwide over the past seven days.

The shipments contained 2.8 million defined daily doses of medication and supplies, including vitamins, insulin, pain management medications, and more.

24/7 Maternity Services Continue in Haiti, Despite Ongoing Unrest

In recent weeks, Haiti, particularly the capital city of Port-au-Prince, has been engulfed in a deepening crisis marked by escalating violence and insecurity. The situation reached a critical point with the declaration of a state of emergency in early March after a mass prison break that occurred as gangs overran two of the country’s largest prisons, leading to the release of thousands of inmates and further exacerbating the already volatile situation.

In response to the ongoing unrest, Direct Relief provided $1 million in financial support to nine healthcare organizations providing essential health services across the country, including Maison de Naissance, a non-profit maternal health center.  The grant helped sustain 24/7 maternity services, providing support for personnel salaries, medical supplies, and fuel during what the Maison de Naissance staff described as the most difficult 3 months experienced since the clinic’s inception in 2004. 

An infant is welcomed at the Maison de Naissance birth center. (Courtesy photo)

Brazil Flood Response Continues

Heavy rain hit southern Brazil last weekend, exacerbating the already extreme flooding the region has undergone since April. Resulting health issues include respiratory illnesses and a bacterial disease called leptospirosis that has already killed more than a dozen people.

Direct Relief’s response efforts in the region continue. With support from PAHO (the Pan American Health Organization), the organization delivered 100 emergency medical backpacks to the Brazilian Ministry of Health (SAES – Secretariate of Specialized Healthcare) to equip their mobile medical teams providing health services in the flood zones. The organization is also coordinating with the MOH on other medical supplies that are in short supply.

Field medic packs arrive in Brazil to equip mobile medical teams providing health services in the flood zones. (Courtesy photo)

Fires Burn in California, New Mexico

As of Friday morning, the Point Fire in Sonoma County, California, has burned over 1,200 acres, destroyed three structures, and damaged two others. Direct Relief received a request for an emergency shipment of supplies (containing 50 hygiene kits and 100 N-95 masks) from Alliance Medical Center on Tuesday, which arrived a day later. The fire is now 75 percent contained, and evacuation orders were lifted on Wednesday.

Direct Relief has also recently supported Alliance Medical Center with funding to install solar panels and a backup battery system. This microgrid has now been operational for a month and provides up to 15 hours of resilient, clean power. The Center is in an area called “the geyser” — extreme winds and fire threat cause frequent PSPS (Power Safety Public Shutoff) events and loss of power.

Earlier this week, Sue Labbe, CEO of Alliance, said that “the smoke, ash and air pollutants from the fire are definitely impacting our air quality but we remain open, and we are continuing to see patients. We do feel relieved knowing that if the grid power is cut off, we will be able to continue to serve our community thanks to the solar Power for Health microgrid.”

An aerial view of the Point Fire in northern Sonoma County, California. (Photo courtesy of CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit)

In New Mexico, the South Fork Fire and Salt Fire, which have grown over 23,000 acres with 0% containment thus far, have caused two known deaths, destroyed approximately 1,400 structures, and forced more than 8,000 people to evacuate. Compounding the problem, thunderstorms that began Wednesday afternoon led to flash flood warnings for areas that were newly burned. Roads have been closed, and communications systems across the affected area have been down, after public communications towers and essential power lines were destroyed by the blaze. 
Direct Relief has offered support to the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, local community health centers, and tribal contacts in the area, and will continue to respond to needs as requested.

Operational Snapshot


Over the last week, Direct Relief shipped more than 300,000 defined daily doses of medication outside the U.S.

Countries that received medical aid over the past week included:

  • India
  • Nepal
  • Syria
  • Tanzania
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Burkina Faso
  • St. Lucia
  • Haiti


Direct Relief delivered 571 shipments containing over three tons of medications during the past seven days to organizations, including the following:

  • Welvista, South Carolina
  • NC MedAssist, North Carolina
  • St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy – Dallas, Texas
  • CommunityHealth, Illinois
  • Health Access for All Inc. dba Angeles Community Health Center, California
  • Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic Pharmacy, Virginia
  • Western Sierra Medical Clinic, California
  • Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Health Care for the Homeless City of New Orleans, Louisiana


Since January 1, 2024, Direct Relief has delivered 11,100 shipments to 1,835 partner organizations in 54 U.S. states and territories and 75 countries.

These shipments contained 206.8 million defined daily doses of medication totaling 3 million lbs.


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