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Global Health Thought Leadership

MedShare Disaster Preparedness & Response

By Charles Redding, CEO & President

In 2021, the Emergency Event Database (EM-DAT) recorded 432 disastrous events related to natural hazards worldwide. Overall, these accounted for 10,492 deaths, affected 101.8 million people, and caused approximately $252.1 billion in economic losses. Asia was the most severely impacted continent, suffering 40% of all disaster events and accounting for 49% of the total number of deaths and 66% of the total number of people affected. During this time, as COVID surged once again in India and Nepal, MedShare supplied critical respiratory equipment, thousands of pieces of PPE and other essential hospital supplies and equipment.

When natural or man-made disasters strike vulnerable areas around the world, MedShare stands prepared to respond quickly and effectively. We are in a unique position to equip first responders in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and partner with local institutions and government agencies to rebuild capacity and support long-term recovery. 

As we continue to strengthen our preparedness through key partnership agreements with the Global Crisis Coordination Center, Henry Schein, and Amazon, we work collaboratively to preposition medical supplies for rapid response.

Of course, many areas affected by natural disasters already have extreme difficulty reaching populations in rural locations. Typically, the limited infrastructure that was once in place no longer functions properly and creates bottlenecks for humanitarian aid delivery. MedShare is adept at overcoming those obstacles.

The Opportunity:

In the moments following a disaster, food, shelter, medical care and clothing are all high on the list of priorities. MedShare’s Disaster Relief Program focuses on:

  • Communicating directly with our in-country partner hospitals and clinics to determine their needs
  • Sourcing immediate needs from our product donor partners per established agreements
  • Coordinating and expediting shipments of critical supplies with our logistics partners
  • Provisioning medical mission team volunteers as they travel to the region to provide aid
  • Continuing support after the initial response to aid in rebuilding health systems in areas devastated by disaster

Although most of our disaster response efforts since 2020 has been focused on COVID-19, where we have delivered 72 million pieces of PPE globally to date to 103 partner organizations in 29 countries, MedShare’s most active response was in 2017, when we experienced some of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history. Hurricane Maria was the deadliest Atlantic hurricane in over a decade, leaving thousands dead and millions without clean water and power for months. Hurricane Harvey is tied with Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, having displaced 30,000 people across Texas, Louisiana, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma caused unprecedented damage to Caribbean islands and many are stealing dealing with the afthermath of these storms today. 

On August 14, 2021, a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck western Haiti causing over 1400 casualties, 6900 injuries and widespread damage. MedShare, along with other humanitarian aid organizations, responded to this disaster to once again provide critical medical aid to victims and health workers.

Unfortunately, it is not a question of if, but when the next disaster will strike. Currently, we are actively responding to the crisis in Ukraine, where over 4 million people have fled  the country in the fastest and largest displacement crisis this century.

Millions are still in danger and in urgent need of aid as attacks on Ukrainian cities continue. It has been over 6 months now since MedShare initiated our disaster relief response to provide critical, life-saving medical supplies and equipment to those impacted by this crisis, and to date we have provided over $2 million in humanitarian aid to countless individuals and communities in need of quality medical care, with plans to do more with your support.

In the past 12 years alone, MedShare has responded to over 27 disasters across 37 countries, serving over 8 million people with over $50 million dollars in aid, thanks to the generous support of our partners and donors.

Please visit www.medshare.org for more information on our disaster relief and other programs to supply humanitarian aid to resource challenged areas in the U.S. and abroad.


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