By Lara Cooper
Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 18 as a Category 1 hurricane, causing an island-wide power outage and causing extensive damage to many areas, especially the southern part -western Puerto Rico. In the six weeks since the impact of the storm, Direct Relief has responded with continued shipments of medical support.
Since the hurricane hit Puerto Rico, Direct Relief has shipped more than $484,000 in medical aid to the island to 23 beneficiaries. More than 194,000 defined daily doses of medicine have been included in the 90 shipments that have since departed, and a significant part of the response came from medical supplies organized in Puerto Rico as part of its strategic role as a regional hub for the response. disasters in the Caribbean. and beyond.
Before the storm
Prior to the start of the 2022 hurricane season, 28 tons of emergency response supplies and equipment, including 11 hurricane preparedness modules containing commonly requested medicine and supplies for post-storm care, kits field medical supplies for triage care, personal care items, oxygen concentrators, tents, PPE, solar chargers and other emergency response essentials have been pre-positioned in the Direct Relief warehouse in Porto Rico.
Because of this emergency preparedness and the establishment of medical support at Direct Relief’s Puerto Rico center, after Hurricane Fiona directly hit the south-southwest portion of Puerto Rico on September 18, Direct Relief staff in Puerto Rico were able to mobilize immediately. and distribute medical support to community health centers and other medical organizations in affected areas.
This rapid response enabled Direct Relief and many local health partners to launch community outreach activities and have a very effective impact on the highly vulnerable communities devastated by Hurricane Fiona, not only in Puerto Rico but also in the Dominican Republic.
A hub for regional response
After Hurricane Fiona had a direct impact on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, Direct Relief was able to ship 36 field medical kits from the Puerto Rico warehouse to the Pan American Health Organization, further mobilizing the hub of Puerto Rico as an effective emergency response. option for disasters in the Caribbean region.
The emergency response expansion from the Puerto Rico hub, a shipment including a hurricane preparedness module and 36 field medical kits, is being packed and expected to be shipped this week to Honduras in response to the most recent rainfall and flooding following Hurricane Julia.
Answer after Fiona
In the days following Hurricane Fiona, the Direct Relief Team was able to coordinate and distribute from the Puerto Rico hub a total of 14 deliveries, which included seven hurricane preparedness modules (including one that is being shipped to Honduras for the Hurricane Julia response), 126 field medic packs (including the 30 shipped to the Dominican Republic and the 36 shipped to Honduras for the Hurricane Julia response), 40 personal care kits , eight oxygen concentrators, 167 solar chargers, five cases of water purification tablets and a case of face masks, all of which had already been prepositioned at the warehouse in Puerto Rico.
Medical shipments were delivered to health centers and clinics across the island, including Med Centro, Ponce Medical School Foundation, COSSMA, Centro de Servicios Primarios de Salud de Patillas, Hospital Dr. Ramon Ruiz Arnau-PRDOH, Salud Integral en la Montana, Inc. (SIM), Migrant Health Center, CSM Hatillo and Neomed Center. Many of these health centers have used medical supplies from their Direct Relief-funded mobile health units to create health outposts in the most affected communities, bringing care outside of clinic walls.
Direct Relief will continue to respond as the recovery progresses in Puerto Rico.