Direct Relief airlifts 82 tons of medical aid to Haiti

Cholera and other diseases have become rampant across Haiti since Hurricane Matthew in October. | File photo

Direct Relief has airlifted 82 tons of medical aid to Haiti for the treatment of cholera and other diseases that have become rampant since Hurricane Matthew in October.

Working through the holiday season, Direct Relief's preparing 258 pallets of essential medications and supplies. These supplies are worth roughly $39.9 million wholesale. The shipment is Direct Relief's largest ever and was delivered to Port-au-Prince by a cargo jet chartered out of Los Angeles.

"The facilities receiving support from this airlift were especially hard-hit and are struggling to recover from the effects of Hurricane Matthew," Andrew MacCalla, Direct Relief's director of international programs, said in a statement. "Many of their patients had homes damaged or destroyed and their livelihoods cut off."

The crisis in Haiti remains urgent, as more than 1.4 million people need assistance. The October storm destroyed food crops and damaged an estimated 90 percent of fruit and forest trees, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

"The situation in southern Haiti after Hurricane Matthew is dire, and the risks of disease and famine are dangerously high," said Conor Shapiro of the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation, a Direct Relief partner that provides health care, educational opportunities and community development programs.

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