Topics: Direct Relief, Puerto Rico Microgrids, NGOs and Disaster Recovery
On this episode of Solutions News, we sit down with Andrew MacCalla, VP of Emergency Response and New Initiatives at Direct Relief, one of the most nimble and effective non-profit aid organizations in the country. From being on the ground in Haiti for 2 years after the 2010 earthquake to managing medical deployments after Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Dorian, Andrew has tremendous experience on the front lines of disaster relief and recovery. We talk with him about providing life-saving medical packs, medicines and now helping local medical centers build their own solar and storage based microgrids to keep the power on in the face of the next outage. It may even be that Puerto Rico has something to teach California now that the major utilities are preemptively shutting off our power!
In addition to talking Direct Relief, Rinaldo gives an update on Puerto Rico's development into a microgrid leader. We also explore the role of NGOs in providing essential help after natural disasters and other unsettling events. And of course "didyaknows". (Produced by Kristy Jansen)
Andrew MacCalla is the Vice President of Emergency Response and New Initiatives at Direct Relief, the largest privately funded non-profit aid organization in California and the 7th largest in the country. Direct Relief’s mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. They provide medical resources to people in over 100 countries and all 50 US States and territories.
Andrew spent two years living in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake as the coordinator of Direct Relief’s response – the largest humanitarian effort since the organization was founded in 1948 –overseeing the distribution of over $350 million USD worth of essential medicine to over 100 health facilities. More recently, Andrew has been on the ground overseeing Direct Relief’s response to emergencies like Hurricane Sandy in New York, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the Syrian refugee crisis, and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Dorian.
Andrew studied Philosophy at University of California, Santa Barbara and has a master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Melbourne. He has written numerous articles for the Huffington Post and The Sacramento Bee.
Andrew also founded Sustainable Recycling Solutions, LLC, a social business in Haiti that provided a solution to Haiti’s plastic waste and large unemployment problem.
Andrew is also a founding Board Member of World Telehealth Initiative, a non-profit which provides medical expertise to the world’s most vulnerable communities to build local capacity and deliver core health services, through a network of volunteer health care professionals supported with state-of-the-art technology.