Over the past several weeks, Direct Relief has been coordinating with staff in Haiti and partner health facilities in Haiti, Jamaica, and along the storm path in the United States to assess their medical resource needs. On October 12, Direct Relief delivered the largest emergency medical aid airlift to Haiti since Hurricane Matthew struck. The 757 plane, donated by FedEx, contained 16.7 tons of medicine and medical supplies which will be distributed to hospitals throughout the country to care for people who have been affected by the storm and continue to face barriers to health services.
Hurricane Matthew has caused an acute health crisis in Haiti, where people already faced severe chronic challenges that have far outstretched the capacity of a very fragile health system. Among the health risks are cholera, dengue, chikungunya, and, most recently, Zika. The country also faces food insecurity, extensive deforestation, extremely high rates of poverty and unemployment, and are in the midst of a transitional government. All of these factors made the effects of Hurricane Matthew, the biggest hurricane to hit Haiti in 10 years, even more devastating.
The emergency airlift of medicines and medical supplies continue to be distributed to hospitals throughout the country with which Direct Relief works on an ongoing basis. These facilities had requested the specific items included to care for people who have been affected by the storm and continue to face barriers to health services.