$10 million in support of Ukrainian refugees; Medical support continues

By staff

Over the past seven days, Direct Relief has delivered 462 medical aid shipments requested in 43 U.S. states and territories and 14 countries worldwideincluding Ukraine.

The shipments contained 24.9 million defined daily doses of medicationincluding PPE, Covid-19 therapies, diabetes drugs and cancer treatments.

This week, Direct Relief, in conjunction with Polish healthcare company Pelion SA, announced $10 million in a direct cash assistance initiative to provide Ukrainian refugees in Poland with free prescription drugs. Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Poland, many of whom cannot afford much-needed prescriptions, will receive medical treatment in the neighboring country. But prescription costs are still a barrier to access that this program will address.

“The initial funding of $10 million comes from the contributions of thousands of people who are deeply concerned about the well-being of Ukrainians whose lives have been disrupted and threatened. This approach connects this incredible generosity in a practical and important way with the people of Ukraine. for the benefit of which Direct Relief received the funds,” said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe.

Featured New Documentary

This short documentary, filmed in Santa Barbara, Lviv and on the Ukraine-Poland border, captures stories from the early days of the war and offers insight into the heroism shown by health care providers and refugees in the midst of war, plus how an aid organization is stepping up to deliver tons of supplies to a war zone thousands of miles away

Ukraine’s response to date

Since February 24, Direct Relief has provided over 254 tons of medical aid and nearly 50 million defined doses of medicine, with more on the way.

In response to a recent shortage of levothyroxine, a drug used to treat impaired thyroid function, Direct Relief shipped 14 million doses – totaling over 30,000 pounds – to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, at their request, and to the Charity Fund Modern Village and Town, for distribution to health facilities serving people affected by the conflict.

According to Dr. Robert McConnell, a physician at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center and an expert on radiation-induced thyroid disease, a pharmaceutical manufacturer of the drug was destroyed by artillery fire. Ukrainians “have not had locally available levothyroxine since the second week of the war”, he said. “Now we have these young adults who were exposed to Chernobyl, and they’re thyroid hormone-free.”

Direct Relief is in contact with Ministries of Health across the region to assess needs and shares information with the UN, European Commission and World Bank to coordinate relief efforts.

In the news

  • Politico: Ukrainian drug traffickers risk everything to deliver drugs to frontline “The country’s NGO sector is also stepping up operations, including California-based Direct Relief, which has already provided disaster relief in conflict zones in Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Venezuela. Ukraine, “the combination of speed and scale of disruption … make it quite exceptional,” said Andrew Schroeder, vice president of research and analytics at Direct Relief. Since February, Direct Relief has delivered nearly 200 metric tons of medical equipment, including chilled insulin to deal with a “critical” supply shortage in Ukraine.€” as well as a 50-bed field hospital donated by the State of California.”
  • BBC News: War in Ukraine: Fortnite maker Epic Games raises $144m (£110m) to help victims“Together with the Fortnite and Xbox community, we’ve raised $144 million for Direct Relief, Unicef, the United Nations World Food Programme, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and World Central Kitchen in support of their efforts. humanitarian aid to war-affected people in Ukraine,” Epic wrote in a blog post.
  • ReliefWeb: Operational update: 294 medical aid shipments to 10 countries, including Ukraine and the United StatesAnother eight-ton shipment of medical aid has arrived in Moldova to support its health system as it welcomes Ukrainians fleeing war. Cancer therapies, mental health drugs and respiratory therapies, among other drugs, were part of the requested shipment.”
  • Cheddar: Meta on how it uses data technology to deliver aid to war-torn Ukraine
  • KEYT: Direct Relief ships Project Joint Guardian firefighting equipment to Ukraine – “The teams will be equipped with search and rescue equipment, personal protective equipment and emergency medical backpacks. The supplies have been collected over the past two weeks from fire stations across California, including Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria Summerland and Ventura. Stations along the coast in Southern California and in the Moreno Valley and as far north as Salinas also donated surplus material. The collection was packaged in Direct Relief’s warehouse in Santa Barbara. It should be shipped to Poland on Wednesday. Once in Europe, the team will assist and help train first responders in Poland and Ukraine.”
  • Santa Barbara News-Press: Direct Relief supports efforts in Ukraine“Direct Relief and Project Joint Guardian, an international network of volunteer firefighters based in San Diego, have partnered to provide search and rescue technical equipment and training to firefighters and search and rescue teams in Ukraine. The supplies were donated by fire stations across the United States, with much of it coming from California. Direct Relief’s role in that effort was to provide a $50,000 grant to help transport firefighters to Ukraine, said Tony Morain, the association’s vice president of communications.
  • KEYT: Artisan crochet sunflowers support Direct Relief efforts in Ukraine“Little yellow and brown crocheted flowers, a symbol of peace and unity for Ukraine, handmade by a group of residents of the Samarkand retirement community. “I was so upset when the war started, like we all were, and I was like, ‘Well, I can’t go out there and do anything, so what can I do? Well, I can do some hook,” Jeri Moulder said. She and a group of ladies started working with yarn, ribbons, glue guns and safety pins, then set up a donation jar. Their goal was to collect $3,000.00 for Direct Relief’s efforts in the war-torn region “We probably made about 150 pins. We raised $8,127! I was amazed, I was just totally blown away. Samarkand rocks” , Moulder said with a laugh.


This week, outside of the United States, Direct Relief shipped more than 23.5 million defined daily doses medication.

Countries that have received medical aid in the past week include:

  • Ukraine
  • Egypt
  • Malawi
  • Brazil
  • Georgia
  • Haiti
  • Nepal
  • Lebanon
  • Sudan
  • Uganda


Direct relief delivered 427 shipments containing 1.4 million doses of medicine over the past week to organizations including:

  • Welvista, South Carolina
  • NC MedAssist, North Carolina
  • Jefferson Comprehensive Health Center, Inc., Mississippi
  • Community Health, Illinois
  • Faith Family Medical Clinic, Tennessee
  • Faith Community Health Center, South Dakota
  • Santa Clara County, California
  • Florida Whole Family Health Center
  • Society of Saint Vincent de Paul/St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy, Texas
  • UNC Health Care, North Carolina


Since January 1, 2022, Direct Relief has delivered 5,380 shipments for 1,348 health organizations in 51 US states and territories and 66 countries.

These shipments contained 133.6 million defined daily doses of drugs valued at $560.8 million (wholesale) and weighing 7.3 million pounds.

Direct Relief is deploying emergency medical aid, ranging from oxygen concentrators to intensive care medication, while preparing for longer-term assistance to people displaced or affected by the war in Ukraine.

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