Include a byline with the reporter’s name and Direct Relief in the following format: "Author Name, Direct Relief." If attribution in that format is not possible, include the following language at the top of the story: "This story was originally published by Direct Relief."
If publishing online, please link to the original URL of the story.
Maintain any tagline at the bottom of the story.
With Direct Relief's permission, news publications can make changes such as localizing the content for a particular area, using a different headline, or shortening story text. To confirm edits are acceptable, please check with Direct Relief by clicking this link.
If new content is added to the original story — for example, a comment from a local official — a note with language to the effect of the following must be included: "Additional reporting by [reporter and organization]."
If republished stories are shared on social media, Direct Relief appreciates being tagged in the posts:
Unless stated otherwise, images shot by Direct Relief may be republished for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution, given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.
Maintain correct caption information.
Credit the photographer and Direct Relief in the caption. For example: "First and Last Name / Direct Relief."
Do not digitally alter images.
Direct Relief often contracts with freelance photographers who usually, but not always, allow their work to be published by Direct Relief’s media partners. Contact Direct Relief for permission to use images in which Direct Relief is not credited in the caption by clicking here.
Do not state or imply that donations to any third-party organization support Direct Relief's work.
Republishers may not sell Direct Relief's content.
Direct Relief's work is prohibited from populating web pages designed to improve rankings on search engines or solely to gain revenue from network-based advertisements.
Advance permission is required to translate Direct Relief's stories into a language different from the original language of publication. To inquire, contact us here.
If Direct Relief requests a change to or removal of republished Direct Relief content from a site or on-air, the republisher must comply.
For any additional questions about republishing Direct Relief content, please email the team here.
1. Different risks arise from the natural environment, built environment, demographics—and the intersection of all three. A hurricane in an area without people or infrastructure is an event of nature. A hurricane becomes an emergency when it occurs in a populated area, where critical infrastructure exists, where substandard housing, levees, or other such items in the built environment are present.
2. Food, Water, Shelter, and Medical Services are the four basic immediate concerns in a hurricane or other emergency situation to safeguard people.
3. The storm isn’t the only health risk. Preventing injury and loss of life from storm-tossed debris, electrocution, exposure, or being caught in floodwaters are priorities for first responders and emergency personnel during a hurricane. Evacuations relate to geographic areas. But evacuating can be difficult for some. People who lack mobility or have other disabling physical or mental conditions have greater difficulty simply leaving their residences, as do those without transportation or with very low incomes.
4. Social Vulnerability: Who is at Risk, Where, and Why. Not everyone within a hurricane’s path is equally at risk. Extensive research by Dr. Susan Cutter of the University of South Carolina regarding past hurricanes and other emergencies has identified over 30 factors that affect communities’ vulnerability in such events, including an area’s natural and built environment, its rural or urban character, and the demographic composition and income levels of the population.
5. Financial losses can be extreme and long-lasting. Hurricane-caused real and personal property damage or destruction is often readily apparent. Less readily apparent are both immediate and long-term economic losses for individuals and businesses, which result in extreme hardship that escapes official damage estimates. Lost sales and wages, uninsured personal and real property losses, crop and capital-equipment losses, reduced property values, business failures, and even large-scale relocation of people from an area have a compounding effect upon each other.
How Direct Relief Responds
Smart preparation is the best defense. Each hurricane season, Direct Relief pre-positions hurricane prep packs and modules in secure locations near vulnerable areas, providing partner facilities with the medications and medical supplies they’ll need in a storm’s wake.
Widespread damage to residences and health facilities often leaves thousands homeless and at risk. Direct Relief works closely with local partners in the US and other affected countries to ensure those in need have medication, supplies, and necessary care. The organization prioritizes work with safety-net clinics, which serve a key role in caring for displaced individuals, particularly those who are low-income and vulnerable.
Equipping Hospitals and First Responders
Even before hurricanes and typhoons make landfall, Direct Relief staffers maintain continual contact with partners and government agencies in areas in a storm’s path, assessing needs and ensuring any hurdles to providing aid can be quickly cleared once a storm hits. The organization helps communities distribute and replenish stocks of supplies with its pre-positioned hurricane preparedness packs and modules, jump-starting relief efforts.
Direct Relief’s Hurricane Preparedness Program was established in 2006 with seed funding from Abbott. In 2009, following a series of devastating storms in the US, Direct Relief developed its waterproof hurricane preparedness modules to enable health centers and clinics to plan for hurricanes and other hard-to-predict emergencies. In the program’s first year, 16 partner health centers and clinics in hurricane-prone areas received pre-positioned modules. Each stocked with enough materials to treat 100 patients for 72 hours, the modules help providers treat conditions ranging from trauma injuries to chronic conditions. The modules are provided free of charge. The hurricane preparedness program has grown to become the largest in the US, supporting 50 partners throughout the South and the Eastern seaboard, as well as in other hurricane-prone areas throughout the world.
As Direct Relief is able to assess initial needs in a storm’s wake, corporate partners’ generous ongoing material donations of medications, medical supplies, and other requested supplies and equipment mean shipments are able to be quickly assembled at Direct Relief’s Santa Barbara, California, warehouse. From there, they’re rapidly airlifted to community health partners in affected areas. Direct Relief regularly coordinates with partners such as FedEx to provide airlift capabilities and logistical support for hurricane response.
Hurricane Prep Map
After the Storm, Building for the Future
In the devastation that follows hurricanes, Direct Relief coordinates with existing partners in affected areas while actively seeking out new partners for urgent and ongoing efforts. Direct Relief then moves fast to establish funds and grant cash to organizations working to help the hardest-hit areas recover, with a goal of bolstering healthcare networks and capabilities of local communities. When disaster follows disaster, such as in situations in which earthquakes have been followed by hurricanes and other adverse weather events, wet conditions and living in close quarters can lead to life-threatening outbreaks of diseases like cholera, endangering residents who are displaced from their homes.
With millions of people affected by superstorms like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan, Direct Relief partners with dozens of organizations on the ground in affected regions. These partners include community healthcare networks serving the most vulnerable populations. Large-scale response to hurricanes requires immense logistical coordination to ensure needs are met from multiple angles. After acute care needs are met, Direct Relief continues to source and distribute medication and medical supplies, assist in staffing up and equipping hospitals and clinics, train new healthcare workers, provide grants to rebuild and resupply medical facilities and undertake many other efforts in conjunction with local partners to move from emergency response to recovery to rebuilding.
Leveraging Technology and Business Resources
The generous support of individuals, foundations, and corporate partners allows Direct Relief to continually deliver aid and much-needed medications and medical supplies to those living in storm-affected areas. All donations received for a specific hurricane relief effort go directly to assist those affected, from lifesaving interventions to planning for the future.
In the technology realm, Direct Relief’s mapping capabilities now include the ability to statistically correlate county-level values of the social vulnerability index and flood-related damage estimates from the University of South Carolina’s Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on disease prevalence rates. The organization can then score counties in terms of their health risks, population needs, and disaster impacts. Cross-referenced with clinical addresses and storm scenarios, the data allows Direct Relief to prioritize problem areas and response requirements. Rapid, highly targeted analysis of historical product flows for health centers in risk zones highlights areas of specific material need.
Hurricane Relief Operations
Working internationally since the end of World War II, Direct Relief expanded its US operations in 2004, delivering medicines and medical supplies to healthcare providers treating those unable to afford critical resources. In 2005, the organization began providing medication free of charge to nonprofit health centers and clinics in California. At that time, more than 6 million people in California were without insurance, and many sought care at the state’s safetynet health centers.
In 2004, Direct Relief contributed to relief efforts abroad in response to Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne. In August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, the effort mobilized in the storm’s aftermath would entirely reshape Direct Relief’s approach to emergency response. When the hurricane hit, the organization expanded its California Clinics Program to the Gulf, rapidly scaling its operations to address crucial emergency needs for medicine, medical supplies, and basic medical equipment.
The National Association of Community Health Centers and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics provided guidance and connected Direct Relief with their statewide clinic associations. In the storms’ wake, Direct Relief provided millions of dollars worth of medicines, medical supplies, equipment, and emergency cash assistance to safety-net clinics along the Gulf Coast. Ultimately, in response to those hurricanes, Direct Relief gave more than $85 million worth of ongoing support to the Gulf region, including grants to rebuild local healthcare systems across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
In August 2007, NACHC honored Direct Relief for its unprecedented assistance to community health centers and their patients in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Direct Relief also participated in the 2006 Pharmaceutical Blue Ribbon Task Force convened by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Direct Relief has continued to provide aid and logistical assistance before, during, and after hurricanes and typhoons around the globe, with some of the largest efforts occurring in the US and Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, the US and British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, Antigua, and Jamaica. The organization has worked to help those affected navigate a difficult set of transitions in moving from acute emergency response to recovery to rebuilding, often with significant obstacles in their path. As Direct Relief has conducted activities in these areas, the organization has established long-standing trusted relationships with local community groups, non-governmental organizations, and corporate partners.
Giving is Good Medicine
You don’t have to donate. That’s why it’s so extraordinary if you do.