REPORT FROM THE RED CROSS –Over the last 2 days, the Hawaii Red Cross has deployed 19 volunteers to support relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi. 13 volunteers from Oahu, Maui, and West Hawaii flew to Houston Tuesday night and were transported to a Red Cross staging area in Orange, Texas. All have left Houston for Louisiana to begin delivering services. Another 4 volunteers (2 from Oahu, 1 from Kauai, and 1 from Molokai) left for Houston last night. Two additional volunteers from the Big Island will also be deploying, one tonight and one tomorrow, for Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Charlene Felkley is one of our Oahu Red Cross volunteers (shown in attached photo, second from the right). She said, “I’m in Lafayette, Louisiana and waiting to get our shelter assignment. Still not sure exactly where we’ll be. I’m on a team representing Red Cross from Delaware, California, South Carolina and Hawaii.”
Michele Liberty, Maui Red Cross County Director, added, “There are 22 shelter teams that left Houston today for Louisiana. The mood of the volunteers is anticipation, everyone is waiting for their assignment, ready to work and from the look of things, it looks like there’s a lot of work to be done. We are seeing a lot of local businesses closed but haven’t reached the parts hardest hit yet. We know a lot of people have been evacuated and electricity is sporadic. We are currently in Lafayette and then driving into Baton Rouge. We’ll be staying in a staff shelter at a church and then getting our assignments tomorrow morning.”
Isaac continues its march inland with strong winds and flooding, and the Red Cross is providing thousands of people with food, shelter and other emergency services. The Red Cross is focused right now on people’s emergency needs and is starting to move more volunteers, equipment and supplies into communities as the storm passes.
· Last night, more than 4,700 people stayed in as many as 80 Red Cross or community shelters in 7 states and more people may come to shelters today as evacuations continue. We expect that number to grow as massive power outages persist and Isaac produces inland flooding in states in the South and Midwest.
· If people need to find a shelter, they can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check local media outlets.
· More than 3,000 trained Red Cross disaster workers from all over the United States have deployed to the Gulf region to help.
· As of Wednesday night, the Red Cross has served more than 22,000 meals and snacks; we have 311,000 more ready-to-eat meals and kitchen support trailers in the area. The Southern Baptist Convention has mobile kitchens capable of producing thousands of meals a day prepositioned to serve cooked meals when it is safe to do so.
· Before Isaac struck, the Red Cross pre-positioned 197 emergency response vehicles, additional volunteers and trailers of relief supplies just outside the impact area, and now we’re starting to move assistance into the affected communities.
· In the days ahead, we’ll be providing people with food, water and supplies like clean up and personal hygiene items, cots, blankets, coolers, shovels, rakes, tarps, gloves and masks.
Those affected can let loved ones know they are safe by either downloading the Red Cross Hurricane App and using the “I’m Safe” button to post a message to their social media accounts, or registering on the Red Cross Safe and Well website.
Hurricane Isaac has caused devastating flooding and wind damage in communities from Florida to Texas, and thousands of people have turned to the American Red Cross for help. And now we need your financial help. This is a massive relief effort and the Red Cross will be here for weeks helping people recover. After a difficult summer of responding to wildfires, power outages and floods, Red Cross resources are stretched – and our costs are growing by the hour.
This is a very big and ongoing storm, and the full extent of damage or the entire Red Cross response isn’t known as Isaac continues its march. What we do know is that the Red Cross response to Isaac is already large and that it will go on for a long time. Our current best estimate is that Red Cross relief services for Isaac could cost as much as tens of millions of dollars. A year ago, the Red Cross spent $18 million to provide shelter, food, comfort and hope to people affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. We haven’t raised anywhere near the millions of dollars we will need for the Isaac response. But the public has always come through for us when Americans need help.
People can click or text to donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The Red Cross spends an average of more than $360 million a year preparing and responding to disasters in the U.S. and around the world. This includes maintaining a network of staff and volunteers, supplies, warehouses, response vehicles and technical resources needed to respond to nearly 70,000 disasters each year.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.