Hurricane Harvey was one of the most destructive and costly natural disasters to ever impact the continental United States. The powerful hurricane made initial landfall near Port Aransas, Texas, on August 25, 2017, and continued to batter large sections of Texas and western Louisiana for days. High winds, heavy rain, and unprecedented flooding took the lives of more than 85 people and caused extensive damage to homes, businesses, schools, healthcare facilities, and infrastructure. Rainfall and flooding in Houston, a city of 6.6 million people, reached record breaking levels forcing tens of thousands out of their homes. Due to the scope and extent of the devastation, as well as the need for tens of thousands of people to
evacuate their homes, medical services and products were needed quickly and in sizeable quantities. Hurricane Preparedness Packs that Direct Relief had prepositioned with partner health centers and clinics were opened by healthcare providers for immediate use, and additional emergency shipments, packed in rugged and easy transportable containers, were dispatched to facilities providing services in shelters and evacuation centers.
In response to the enormous immediate and ongoing Hurricane Harvey-related needs, Direct Relief has delivered 355 emergency shipments to 44 partner facilities caring for people affected by the storm and its aftermath. These relief and recovery shipments contained more than 70,000 pounds of critically needed medicines, insulin, tetanus vaccines, first aid and general clinic supplies, diagnostic medical equipment, antiseptics and disinfectants, and personal hygiene products.
In addition to medical material resources and in consultation with the Texas Association of Community Health Centers and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, Direct Relief committed $500,000 toward the provision of emergency operating grants of $25,000 each to help address immediate financial needs that arose from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Additional grants will be awarded based on the individual status and needs of facilities that are providing services to people hard hit by the storm.