Direct Relief will use all contributions designated for Hurricane Ida solely for relief and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Ida.
Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, causing significant damage to the U.S. Gulf Coast, as well as additional flooding along Ida’s path on the East Coast.
Widespread power and communications outages are impacting many areas as recovery efforts continue.
Direct Relief has committed an initial $1 million in funding for Hurricane Ida relief efforts and has made its $100 million+ medical inventory available for medical needs in the region.
Responding to Medical Needs Across the U.S. in Ida’s Wake
Direct Relief has a long history of responding to hurricanes in the United States, including Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago.
Medical aid is already in New Orleans and the greater region, and the organization has prepositioned 17 Hurricane Preparedness Packs with partner facilities in areas that may experience impacts from Hurricane Ida. The caches include medications and medical supplies commonly requested after disasters, including prescription medications for diabetes and hypertension.
Shipments for health centers in New Orleans, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and other communities are being prepared or en route, and include emergency medications and supplies, Tdap vaccines, and other resources. Direct Relief staff are also in communication with health providers weathering Ida’s impacts on the U.S. East Coast.
Health Impacts in Hurricane-Prone Communities
Hurricanes and similar storms can bring with them a host of health concerns for those affected. Covid-19 complicates evacuation efforts in congregant shelters, and health systems already strained by the pandemic may experience another surge of patients needing care from the storm’s impacts. High burdens of chronic disease, like diabetes and heart disease, can also complicate evacuation efforts. If a person managing a chronic disease is suddenly cut off from reliable prescription medications or medical care, they may require emergency care.
Access to Power is Essential for Health
Power and water outages can also impede local health providers, and a storm’s after-effects also present health concerns, ranging from water-borne illness to the risk of tetanus from clean-up and recovery efforts.
Without power, critical health services can’t be provided – life-saving medicines go bad, electronic health records can’t be accessed, essential medical equipment can’t be powered, and vital community health facilities serving the most vulnerable shutdown.
Acknowledging that access to power is a prerequisite to health, the organization has offered up its inventory of power backup options to health providers lacking consistent electricity after Ida. Options from portable fridges to keep vaccines, insulin, and other cold therapies at stable temperatures to solar kits with battery back-up are being prepared for departure.
In response to Hurricane Ida, Direct Relief is in contact with a number of clinics, health centers, and health networks in areas affected by the storm to assess needs and send additional infusions of support.
Direct Relief staff members have also been in communication with Primary Care Associations in states across the U.S. Gulf and East Coasts around needed emergency response efforts.
More than 200 health care partners throughout the impacted areas have been notified about the availability of emergency support from Direct Relief, and the organization will continue to respond.
Hurricane Ida Relief
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