Direct Relief Emergency Situation Report (8.20.2021)

Haiti Earthquake, California Wildfires, North Carolina Flooding, Tropical Storm Henri

A slew of major, and in some cases historic, natural disasters have emerged in recent weeks throughout the U.S. and Caribbean, including an earthquake, wildfire, flooding, and a forthcoming tropical storm, which is expected to become a hurricane.

A combination of existing relationships with disaster response agencies, safety net health clinics, and government agencies, as well as data analysis and pre-positioned supplies, have enabled Direct Relief to respond efficiently and precisely to requests after each incident.

For the latest news and response information, please read below:



  • A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on August 14 at 8:30 a.m. local time.

  • The earthquake’s epicenter was 77 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince, in the vicinity of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes.

  • The death toll continues to climb, exceeding 2,000, with more than 12,000 injured, many in critical condition.

  • Tropical Depression Grace, while less severe than feared, caused flooding in earthquake-affected communities including Jacmel, Les Cayes, and Marigot, further compounding the humanitarian situation.

  • The flooding combined with a lack of shelter and access to clean water and sanitation drastically increases the risk of Covid-19, cholera, and other disease outbreaks.

  • Initial rapid assessments indicate that the earthquake destroyed 61,000 homes and damaged another 76,000.

  • The quake also affected 24 health facilities in the Sud, Nippes, and Grand’Anse departments, damaging the infrastructure of 20 while destroying four, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

  • The widespread need for medical care in the aftermath of the earthquake and widespread damage to health infrastructure is making healthcare services and medical supplies a critical focus of the overall emergency response.

  • According to OCHA, in the three hardest-hit areas, the health system has been severely impaired as health needs grow, making humanitarian interventions in health a critical priority to ensure access to life-saving care and other vital services.

  • Ongoing insecurity in the country, including gang control of the main roads leading to the affected areas, further complicates the response. Aid is currently being transported through gang areas in convoys, though security issues remain a significant impediment.


  • More than 192 pallets-worth of medical aid from Direct Relief totaling $12.8M has arrived recently in Haiti, is en route, or is ready for deployment.

  • Direct Relief is mobilizing a FedEx humanitarian emergency MD-11 aid charter of urgently needed medical supplies to Haiti (ETA 1 p.m. on August 26). The flight will hold roughly 140 pallets of antibiotics, wound care items, PPE, diagnostic supplies, medical-grade freezers, IV fluids, medical relief packs, and essential medications.

  • Inbound emergency shipments will be stored at Direct Relief’s Haiti warehouse and distributed by Direct Relief’s Port au Prince-based staff, enabling healthcare providers to continue providing life-saving services to their communities and patients from areas with damaged or destroyed health infrastructure.

  • Health facilities being supported include St. Boniface, Saint Luke’s, Albert Schweitzer, & Saint Damien’s Hospitals, the Haitian Ministry of Health, Gheskio, CORE Haiti, Project Medishare, PAHO, and others.

  • Six pallets containing emergency backpacks, tents, and hygiene kits will arrive early next week in Les Cayes by private charter to the Colorado Haiti Project in Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, located near the earthquake’s epicenter.

  • Emergency medical supplies, which Direct Relief prepositioned at Saint Damien’s Hospital in Port au Prince, are now deployed to Les Cayes to support medical relief efforts.

  • Critical medicine and supplies from Direct Relief were routed to Port au Prince this week by PAHO from its Panama UN Humanitarian Response Depot.

  • This week, seven pallets of PPE, medical relief backpacks, and emergency shelters arrived at St. Boniface from Direct Relief’s Puerto Rico distribution hub. Direct Relief also provided $250,000 in emergency operational cash support to the St. Boniface Hospital in Fond-des-Blancs.