H-GOLETA

Nov 12, 2013 9:24 PM by Victoria Johnson, KSBY News

Direct Relief sends aid to typhoon-ravaged Philippines

An international relief group that's based on the Central Coast is sending help to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

The relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan include 1.5 tons of medicine and supplies valued at $277,000, which were expected to reach the Philippines on Tuesday.

The employees and volunteers for Direct Relief, a non-profit, are hard at work prepping the next shipment of much needed medical supplies. There is an immediate demand for health services.

"The hospitals and clinics and pharmacies were all damaged. We are working closely with Philippine partners. We are trying to make sure the materials we have here are the right ones and we get them to the right people in the right places," said Thomas Tighe, President and CEO of Direct Relief.

Health care companies donated much needed medical supplies to help the victims.

"They have asked for everything ranging from trauma care for surgeries because people were injured by the force of the storm itself, as well as the other typical types of medication," said Tighe.

On Tuesday, 27 pallets were prepped and will be sent out. The $2.2 million shipment of materials, medications, supplies and hygiene kits will help 30,000 people for a month.

"Inadequate water, poor hygiene and sanitation is a recipe for the types of outbreaks. Everyone is concerned about that on a public health perspective," said Tighe.

The staff is working seven days a week and double shifts. They also get help from volunteers. At 105 years old, Edythe Kirchmaier has spent the past 40 years serving.

"I am grateful we have Direct Relief who send medical supplies all over the world. I feel humble to be a part of an organization that does all of this," said Edythe Kirchmaier, Direct Relief Volunteer.

Supplies that are being shipped out Tuesday night are expected to arrive in the Philippines in the next day or two. Direct Relief staff members will also be going to oversee the distribution of supplies and coordinate efforts overseas. Direct Relief says 100% of the donations it receives for its typhoon aid effort will go directly to the Philippines.

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