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Direct Relief Shipping Out Medicine Kits to Hurricane-Prone Areas

Supplies are being provided to clinics now to avoid logistical problems in the event of a disaster

Stacked inside a cavernous warehouse on a quiet street near Goleta’s rail depot, Direct Relief International stores supplies for relief efforts all over the world. While the nonprofit continues to send supplies to Haiti and Ecuador in the wake of their natural disasters, this week DRI began packing 30 pharmaceutical kits for shipment to medical clinics in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas as this year’s hurricane season officially kicks off.

“These modules are all ready to go, so if there’s a hurricane warning, clinics can just grab them and get out,” Brett Williams, DRI’s emergency preparedness and response director, said Thursday, adding that by giving the packages to clinics now, logistical problems that may occur while trying to supply an area during a disaster are eliminated.

The modules contain antibiotics, lifesaving medicines for various chronic illnesses, and standard first aid supplies such as bandages.

“Since we started our hurricane preparedness program in areas affected by hurricanes and tropical storms, our effort has expanded into a collaboration with a number of major medical manufacturers to provide the more than 150 types of critical supplies and medicines now included,” Thomas Tighe, DRI’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “We have also developed advanced data and mapping technologies to help identify where health support is most needed along U.S. storm evacuation routes.”

Medical supplies are ready to be shipped to Haiti
Medical supplies are ready to be shipped to Haiti. (Ben Preston / Noozhawk photo)

Areas along the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf coasts are expected to face severe weather this year, with as many as four major hurricanes and more than a dozen tropical storms predicted. In anticipation of potential damage caused by the storms, DRI is also sending 12 pharmaceutical modules to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Modules distributed to U.S. locales are designed to serve 100 people for three to five days, and those sent to international locations are somewhat larger, intended to sustain up to 1,000 people for a month. All of the modules for supplied for free by DRI.

The U.S. aid packages were provided by Direct Relief USA, a DRI program aimed at providing a pharmaceutical safety net for more than 46 million uninsured Americans that has thus far provided more than$200 million worth of medicine.

Williams said DRI also has partnered with the California Emergency Management Agency to work through logistical scenarios that could occur in the event of a large earthquake or catastrophic levee breach in the Sacramento-San Jaoquin Delta, the heart of the state’s water distribution system.

Noozhawk staff writer Ben Preston can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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