It’s been more than three weeks since Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana, and over a week since Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida and the American Red Cross continues to provide shelter, food, relief supplies and more to people in need.
Red Cross response vehicles and volunteers are fanning out across neighborhoods to distribute nutritious meals and relief supplies such as diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies, coolers, and comfort kits that contain deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items.
Red Cross disaster workers are also providing health services such as replacing lost medications and eyeglasses, emotional support and spiritual care to people affected by this devastating storm.
Thousands of people remain in emergency shelters and the Red Cross is there, making sure people get the help they need as they plan their next steps. Emergency shelters aren’t typically intended to stay open for long periods of time—that’s why organizations involved in relief efforts strive to help people find more suitable accommodations if their homes are left unlivable after a disaster. The owners of many shelter facilities are also ready to get back to normal business. Some of the people staying in shelters who can’t return home are being helped through government programs, which may include relocating survivors to hotels or other temporary housing solutions. Some shelter residents will be helped through other community programs. Red Cross caseworkers are meeting with thousands of people still in shelters to help get some normalcy back in their lives. This includes identifying each person’s individual needs and connecting them to the critical services and resources they need on their path to recovery.
Our work is just beginning – we will use generous donations to help people recover and get back on their feet in the challenging weeks and months ahead. After the emergency relief phase of our work is complete, we will use any remaining donations to meet the longer-term needs of the affected communities. 91 cents of every dollar we receive will be spent to help people affected by these Hurricanes.
Massive disasters like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma create more needs than any one organization can meet on their own. The Red Cross is working very closely with the entire response community – government agencies, other non-profit groups, faith-based organizations, area businesses and others – to coordinate emergency relief efforts and get help to people as quickly as possible. This is a time for communities to come together and support one another. The Red Cross is working with dozens of disaster partners to support feeding, child care, disaster assessment and other disaster services. Some of the partners we are coordinating with include Church of the Brethren Children’s Disaster Services, Save the Children, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Islamic Relief USA.