In The News! Part 6! American Red Cross and Hurricane Harvey and Irma
The American Red Cross continues to help people impacted by Hurricane Harvey while preparing to respond to Florida and the Southeast as powerful Hurricane Irma nears the United States and its territories. Hurricane Irma is the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane on record. People in the potential path of the storm should monitor weather reports and prepare accordingly.
The Red Cross has robust disaster response capabilities, which allow the organization to respond to two significant disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma without compromising assistance to those in need.
Though the rain has stopped falling in Texas and Louisiana, river and bayou flooding continues. Officials estimate as many as 135,000 homes may be impacted with more than 22,000 homes receiving major damage. In some areas, people are just beginning to clean up their flooded homes. The Red Cross is doing everything it can to get help where it’s needed. Access to many areas remains challenging but the Red Cross is expanding its reach into more communities every day. The Red Cross is working around the clock to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
More than 16,000 people sought refuge in 90 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas. The Red Cross is also assisting the Louisiana state government with emergency shelters. Even now, more than 3,100 Red Cross disaster workers have helped:
- Along with its partners, serve more than 906,000 meals and snacks;
- Provide care by supporting 26,000 mental health and health services contacts;
- Distribute more than 194,000 relief items like diapers and comfort kits that contain deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items for people forced from their homes; and
- Mobilize more than 190 emergency response vehicles to help deliver meals and relief supplies.
The American Red Cross is mounting a massive response as Irma heads to the United States. Red Cross workers are hard at work on many island nations throughout the storm’s path and, with Irma bearing down on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the American Red Cross is already there helping.
Hurricane Irma is currently a Category 5 hurricane with 185 mph winds. The storm has cut access to some islands and others may face similar challenges. In Florida, evacuations are underway and the National Guard has been activated. People are lining up for gas, making arrangements for disaster supplies, and getting their homes ready.
To prepare for Hurricane Irma, the American Red Cross has:
- Mobilized relief materials through Florida and the mid-Atlantic region.
- Staged responders in nearby areas so they may respond quickly.
- Planned to have the resources to shelter more than 120,000 people.
- Activated 80 emergency response vehicles.
- Prepositioned 100,000 shelf-stable meals.
Even as The Red Cross continues to operate shelters, serve meals, and provide critical relief supplies in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, some people have returned home and need assistance. The Red Cross will work with individuals and families to help them recover. The Red Cross will help residents start the recovery process by connecting them to needed services and resources. In some cases, the Red Cross may provide financial assistance.
Recovering from a disaster can be a challenging, emotionally draining, and complicated process. Each community and each family will have different needs, and will require different support to meet those needs. Red Cross caseworkers connect one-on-one with people to create recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate help from other agencies.
The Red Cross works with government and nonprofit partners to help develop coordinated community recovery plans and strategies. In some situations, the Red Cross may give grants to partner organizations for specialized activities such as mold remediation or building storm shelters. Our recovery support could also include preparedness activities so people and communities are ready for the next emergency.