The statistics are overwhelming: $125 billion in damage, more than 40 inches of rain in spots, and more than 100 deaths. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 was one of the most destructive tropical cyclones in U.S. history. A Santa Barbara County non-profit played a key role in relief efforts, getting essential medicines and medical supplies to the hard hit region.
Dena Hughes is CEO of the Triangle Area Network Health Center in Beaumont, Texas. She says Direct Relief backed her center up with critically need supplies to help those in need after the hurricane hit.
Direct Relief has a program in which it pre-positions emergency medical supplies in at risk areas of the U.S. for hurricanes.
Andrew McCalla is Direct Relief’s Director of International Programs and Emergency Response. He says 75 hurricane preparedness packs have been pre-positioned. The hurricane preparedness packs distributed in the U.S. are six big orange tubs, filed with supplies. They’re designed to help clinics which help some of the most at risk people with essential supplies for a three to five day period, until more help can get to hard hit areas.
McCalla says if the preparedness packs aren’t needed for hurricane relief, Direct Relief wants the agencies which get them to open them up, and use the supplies before they expire. New kits are sent out every year.
The international relief agency is perhaps better known for its work overseas. But, the Santa Barbara County based agency also tries to meet needs across the U.S., and even locally with things like masks during the massive Thomas brush fire.