Direct Relief Response to Irma - US & Caribbean

by Direct Relief
Direct Relief Response to Irma - US & Caribbean

Direct Relief has been active in emergency storm and flood-related responses in the U.S. and around the world for decades.

Following the destruction of Hirrcane Irma, Direct Relief worked closely with health officials and local partners to navigate persistent power outages and transportation challenges and ship specifically requested medical aid and supplies to affected areas.

Within days of Irma’s landfall, Direct Relief had dispatched needed medical aid to healthcare providers in Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean nations of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, the Dutch Antilles, Haiti, and Turks and Caicos.

In the year since, Direct Relief has delivered 449,028 pounds of medical aid, totaling $39.6 million (wholesale), via 289 shipments to 63 partner healthcare facilities located throughout the Caribbean and southeastern U.S. to support the health needs of communities directly affected by Hurricane Irma.

Please click on the attached link to read the compresensice report one year post Irma.

The extensive and widespread effects of Hurricane Irma will be felt for a long time to come, and communities that may not fully recover for years. In response to the historic devastation caused by the storm, over the past year, Direct Relief has worked alongside healthcare providers rooted in affected communities to bring proven approaches to emergency response to an unprecedented scale, adapt to the evolving needs on the ground, and enhance the effectiveness of preparedness efforts in the Caribbean and along the U.S. Gulf Coast to ensure even more effective responses to future storms.


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Hurricane Irma made landfall on September 10, 2017, just weeks after Hurricane Harvey battered Texas and coming shortly before Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

People living in Florida and the Carribean braced for the storm.

DIrect Relief had pre-positioned medicines and supplies at health facilities throughout the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard of the U.S., so many areas at-risk for the effects of Irma were ready with aid before the storm made landfall.

Almost a year later, Direct Relief is again pre-positioning needed medicines and medical supplies at safety net clinics in hurricane-prone areas to prepare for what may be another tough hurricane season.

Preparedness is key, and last year demonstrated that for the many clinics and health centers that were readied ahead of time with Direct Relief's hurricane preparedness packs.

This year, more packs are being delivered to more clinics in the U.S., throughout the Carribean, and in other parts of the world that may be impacted by a varierty of emergency situations -- from hurricanes to cyclones to severe flooding.

Thank you for your support.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Direct Relief: Irma Response By The Numbers
Direct Relief: Irma Response By The Numbers

Before making landfall in Florida, Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm, with sustained winds as high as 185 mph. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 99 percent of structures were at least partially damaged by the storm in Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, and the US Virgin Islands. A Direct Relief team was on the ground in Florida before Irma made landfall, directing the movement and use of 12 pre-positioned Hurricane Preparedness Packs in the areas where they were needed most in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Direct Relief worked closely with health system officials and local partners to overcome persistent power outages and transportation challenges to ship specifically requested medical aid and supplies to Florida, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean nations of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, the Dutch Antilles, Haiti, and Turks and Caicos.

To date, Direct Relief has delivered $38.2 million (wholesale) via 174 shipments to 59 partner healthcare facilities to support the health needs of communities directly affected by Hurricane Irma. Selected community health centers and charitable clinics will also  receive cash grants from Direct Relief’s Hurricane Community Health Fund in the coming weeks to help rebuild and stabilize operations to ensure the sustainability of critically important, community-based sources of care.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

More than $11 million worth of critical aid is in the hands of relief workers in Florida and more than 150 dogs and cats are in a no-kill shelter in San Francisco thanks to FedEx, Direct Relief, Heart to Heart International, the Miami HEAT and the Golden State Warriors. FedEx dedicated a special flight in September 2017 to make the emergency response possible.

The FedEx Express MD-10 was loaded in Memphis with medicines and medical supplies to assist Direct Relief’s humanitarian efforts for the people and communities affected by Hurricane Irma. The resources will be delivered to community health centers and clinics throughout Florida, in close coordination with the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, as well as to hospitals in Anguilla, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands, and British Virgin Islands. The cargo jet was also carrying more than 4,000 hygiene kits for Heart to Heart International as well as employee relief supplies and generators.

The relief supplies were unloaded upon arrival in Miami, and more than 150 dogs and cats from Miami-area shelters were loaded on board the MD-10. The animals were then flown to Oakland, Calif., where they were delivered to no-kill shelters in the San Francisco area.

“On behalf of our 400,000 FedEx team members, we take great pride in using our global network to deliver hope and help in times of crisis,” said David J. Bronczek, president and chief operating officer of FedEx Corp. “We are inspired by the passion of these organizations and their drive to make a difference in the world. All of us at FedEx remain committed to working closely with humanitarian and disaster relief organizations to provide support and deliver supplies to assist those hardest hit by these storms.”

Direct Relief for Those Who Need It Most

FedEx has worked with Direct Relief for more than a decade to deliver medical resources during times of disaster. “Hurricane Irma’s toll on lives and livelihoods in Florida and across the Caribbean has been steep, while at the same time damaging to the health facilities and infrastructure that are essential for recovery,” said Thomas Tighe, president and CEO, Direct Relief. “That’s why the leadership of FedEx in logistics and transportation is critically important and serves as a lifeline to the people and communities still at risk.”

Teaming Up to Save Shelter Animals

Hurricane Irma also created a pet emergency, with shelters becoming quickly overcrowded due to displaced dogs and cats in hard-hit areas. Members of the Miami HEAT heard about the overcrowding crisis at local shelters and collaborated with the Golden State Warriors to come up with a plan. The NBA teams reached out to FedEx to assist.

“As residents of South Florida, we have experienced our fair share of hurricanes through the years and we are keenly aware of the challenges before, during and after a storm,” said Eric Woolworth, president of The HEAT Group’s Business Operations. “Displaced or abandoned pets are helpless and heart-breaking casualties of a hurricane’s aftermath. This cross-country airlift wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our friends at FedEx and the Golden State Warriors. I speak for everyone at the HEAT and AmericanAirlines Arena when I say our hope is two-fold: to reunite lost pets with their owners and to encourage South Floridians to consider adopting a furry friend who is in desperate need of a new home.”

“It’s been eye-opening to learn about all the animals affected by natural disasters like Hurricane Irma, so when I heard about this event, I knew I wanted to be involved,” said Warriors center Zaza Pachulia. “I’m proud to represent my teammates and the Warriors organization as a part of this great collaboration, and I’m looking forward to hearing about all these dogs and cats finding loving homes in the Bay Area.”

Providing Shelter

As part of their efforts to assist animals impacted by Hurricane Irma, the ASPCA is providing Miami-Dade Animal Services with sheltering assistance and helped facilitate the transport of hundreds of displaced homeless animals from Miami area shelters to the West Coast. The ASPCA is providing ground transportation for approximately a hundred animals upon their arrival at the Oakland International Airport to the Marin Humane Society and the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, where they will eventually be made available for adoption. In total, the ASPCA has helped transport more than 1,000 animals out of communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and continues to provide search-and-rescue and sheltering assistance in Florida and Texas.

“The ASPCA is pleased to be in a position where we can assist animal shelters in Florida by helping move homeless cats and dogs out of impacted communities to free up much-needed space for owned pets displaced by the storm,” said Dick Green, senior director of Disaster Response for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “The animals transported to the West Coast today will have a second chance to find safe and loving homes thanks to destination shelters opening their doors for Florida cats and dogs in need.”

This special relief flight is part of the company’s FedEx Cares initiative, through which FedEx will invest $200 million in more than 200 global communities by 2020 to create opportunities and deliver positive change around the world.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Direct Relief

Location: Santa Barbara, CA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @directrelief
Project Leader:
Heather Bennett
Santa Barbara, CA United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Support another project run by Direct Relief that needs your help, such as:

Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.