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Puerto Rico: Hurricane Maria Relief

Direct Relief International Donates Essential Medicines: February 2018

February 22, 2018
Deanna Boulard and Melody Ferrell

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RMF Founder and CEO Dr. Martina Fuchs with our Puerto Rico team in the Vega Alta Clinic

RMF Founder and CEO Dr. Martina Fuchs with our Puerto Rico team in the Vega Alta Clinic

Background

Supporting 5 Clinics and Hospitals

On September 20, 2017, Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit the US territory of Puerto Rico. The winds, 155 miles per hour at landfall, completely wiped out the island’s power grid and phone towers. A flash flood emergency was declared in central Puerto Rico, and the island experienced record flooding. Prior to the hurricane, Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was weak, and the storm left the small island crippled. Across the island, cities reported collapsed bridges and severe damage to roadways. Many homes, businesses, and public buildings were also damaged or destroyed. As of February 2018, much of Puerto Rico remains without power, clean water, or sufficient medical supplies.

After our initial needs assessment in October 2017, RMF Founder and CEO Dr. Martina Fuchs visited Puerto Rico in early December 2017, strengthening ties with local authorities, medical professionals, and organizations. RMF then began working closely with Dr. Luis Gonzalez Bermudez, who oversees 5 medical facilities in the Vega Alta municipality. We have begun supporting the operations of these 5 health clinics and hospitals, and Dr. Martina Fuchs returned in February 2018 to guide our Puerto Rico team as per next steps of the program. Through RMF, the clinics are also receiving essential medical supplies from Direct Relief International.

Direct Relief International cold chain donation

Direct Relief International cold chain donation

Direct Relief International

A Critical Donation

On February 16, 2018, Real Medicine Foundation Puerto Rico’s team received a cold chain donation from Direct Relief International (DRI), including vaccines and insulin. These supplies are particularly needed after Hurricane Maria wiped out electricity throughout Puerto Rico, leaving much of the island without lighting or refrigeration to this day. RMF Puerto Rico is scheduled to receive 19 additional pallets from DRI: 5 with prescription drugs and 14 with over-the-counter medicines.

As we continue implementation of our Hurricane Maria Relief initiative, these essential medical supplies will support our work tremendously, helping to rebuild and protect the lives of those most in need after the hurricane.

Thank you, Direct Relief!

Influenza immunization outreach

Influenza immunization outreach

Medical Outreach

Stationary and Mobile

RMF’s response in Puerto Rico also includes the implementation of stationary and mobile medical outreaches, and the Vega Alta Hospital will act as the primary hub for these activities. In cooperation with the local government, we were able to hold an outreach on February 15, 2018 at the Vega Alta Clinic, where people received the influenza vaccinations they need to stay healthy during this flu season.

Thanks to the donation from Direct Relief International, we will be able to continue offering these vaccines and essential medicines to the community.

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+  View Objectives
  • To provide primary health care and essential supplies to unreached, hurricane-affected communities
  • To form local partnerships and empower local health professionals, ensuring effective service provision to communities most in need
+  View Background

On September 20, 2017, Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit the US territory of Puerto Rico. The winds, 155 miles per hour at landfall, completely wiped out the island’s power grid and phone towers. A flash flood emergency was declared in central Puerto Rico, and the island experienced record flooding.

Prior to the hurricane, Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was weak, and the storm left the small island crippled. Across the island, cities reported collapsed bridges and severe damage to roadways. On October 2, almost two weeks after the storm, 55% of people were still without access to drinking water, only 1 of 69 hospitals was fully operational, and 80% of the island’s crops had been destroyed. The full extent of the damage is still unclear, as most telephone and internet lines are still down. The damage has left many rural areas isolated, without access to communication or desperately needed supplies: food, water, shelter, and medical supplies.


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  More Reports on:
Hurricane Maria Relief
        Country Page: Puerto Rico
        Initiative Page: Hurricane Maria Relief
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