Medical Aid from Direct Relief Arrives for People Affected by Most Destructive Tornado Outbreak of the Year

$100 thousand cash, $58 million in medical material made available for relief effort

May 01, 2014, 14:03 ET from Direct Relief International

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., May 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Emergency aid from medical aid organization Direct Relief arrived Wednesday at two clinics in Arkansas treating people affected by this week's deadly series of tornadoes in the South and Midwest – the most destructive outbreak of the year.  The organization also announced it is making available an initial $100,000 in cash and its current medical inventories, including prescription medications, of $58 million as may be needed by partner organizations in tornado-affected communities.

Direct Relief's partners, Conway Interfaith Clinic in Conway, Ark. and Corning Area Health Care, Inc's family medical site in Pocahontas, Ark. – both free clinics – will use the supplies of family emergency kits and other personal care items for people who have evacuated to local shelters.

Additional shipments of requested care items and prescription medications for people with diabetes, hypertension, and asthma arrive at both sites today, with another emergency delivery being prepared for the Greater Meridian Health Clinic network in Louisville, Mississippi. 

Direct Relief plays a unique role in emergencies as the only U.S. nonprofit to obtain Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor (VAWD)© certification by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and with licenses to distribute prescription medications in all 50 states.  Through a network of over 1000 nonprofit health centers and clinics nationwide, Direct Relief provides essential medicines and medical materials free of charge for people affected by emergencies and, on an ongoing basis, for those with low incomes who lack insurance. 

Direct Relief also is again working with Reach Out WorldWide, a nonprofit rapid-response organization founded by the late actor Paul Walker, whose team will be doing on-the-ground assessments of partners who Direct Relief's Emergency Team has been unable to reach as well as connect the team with potential new clinic and health center providers.

Direct Relief's Emergency Team has also been in contact with the Red Cross to support shelter services as well as state Primary Care Associations, the National Association of Community Health Centers, and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, organizations with which Direct Relief has worked closely during past emergencies, including Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma Tornadoes last year. 

Direct Relief activated its emergency response immediately as the tornadoes struck, contacting 500 health center and clinic partners across 18 states that were under threat of tornado and inclement weather. Direct Relief's Emergency Team predicts more supplies will be requested as needs are assessed and clean-up efforts continue. So far, at least 34 people have been killed and hundreds more injured. Direct Relief continues to monitor storm activity in the region and is ready to respond to requests as they arise.

Direct Relief's rapid response is enabled by support from FedEx, which is providing overnight shipping of the supplies and medicines free-of-charge, as well as the donations from corporate supporters, including: 3M, BD, Chattem Inc., Covidien, CVS Corporation, GSMS Incorporated, McKesson Medical Surgical, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., Neutrogena Corporation, Prestige Brands, Roche Diagnostics, and Sanofi US Foundation for North America.

To support Direct Relief's tornado response efforts, donate here.

About Direct Relief
Direct Relief is a leading medical relief organization, active in all 50 states and in 70 countries and is the only U.S. nonprofit to obtain Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor (VAWD)© certification by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.  The organization has been among the world's largest medical suppliers in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, has top charity ratings, including four-star and "top-notch" rating from Charity Navigator, and a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes magazine. Among other distinctions, Direct Relief was the 2011 winner of the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation and received the 2013 President's Award from ESRI. For more information visit

Kerri Murray, (805) 452-7599

SOURCE Direct Relief International