Direct Relief sent medicines and supplies to the North Carolina coast this week as Hurricane Florence heads towards the area with the potential for powerful storm surges, catastrophic winds and heavy rain.
The humanitarian aid organization shipped dozens of modules, which are essentially “pharmacies in a box” via FedEx.
Direct Relief is also working with more than 200 healthcare partners on the ground to coordinate distribution channels and relief efforts.
Ahead of the hurricane season, Direct Relief prepositioned medicines and supplies in high-risk areas.
“The concern is about people who are very young or very old, who don’t have much money or access to transportation, who do not speak the predominant language or have access to information,” said Direct Relief CEO and President, Thomas Tighe.
The idea to ship medicines and supplies ahead of a disaster came in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the destructive and deadly Category 5 hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005.
There were also many lessons learned by humanitarian aid organizations after Hurricane Maria in 2017, where nearly 3,000 people lost their lives.
“Most did not die from storm related impacts, like drowning or falling debris,” Tighe said. “The thousands who died in the following months were because of a lack of access to medications.”
Direct Relief is ready to send more supplies and aid to North Carolina, if needed.
The organization’s new larger facility allows it to keep a larger stockpile of supplies on hand.
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