As floodwater continues to recede in Texas, shelter populations are declining as residents gain access to their homes and additional resources. Current damage assessment indicates that as many as 197,000 households received major damage/were destroyed following Harvey. The Neches River and Sabine River remain in Minor flood status, with ongoing road closures and areas of inaccessibility. All other infrastructure, such as roads, ports, airports, etc., continues to progress to near 100% functionality.
Red Cross Response to Hurricane Harvey
Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana, thousands of people remain in emergency shelters, while many more are cleaning up their flooded homes. The American Red Cross is there, providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to people affected by the devastating storm.
Thanks to our generous donors, the Red Cross is providing financial assistance to Texas households that were severely impacted by Harvey and need help taking care of emergency needs. Right now, we are in the initial phase of this effort and are experiencing an exceedingly high demand. We know this is frustrating and ask that people please be patient. A few notes:
· On September 11, we provided $45 million in financial assistance to more than 100,000 qualified households who needed immediate help.
· The Red Cross is prepared to provide financial assistance to hundreds of thousands of households.
· The Red Cross is a charity, not a government agency, and people do not need to be American citizens to receive our assistance.
This financial assistance is in addition to the other emergency relief efforts the Red Cross is providing in Texas, which includes sheltering, food and other critical immediate support. Last night, more than 4,900 people sought refuge in 29 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas. To date there have been a total of over 369,000 overnight stays in response to Harvey.
As you read this, more than 3,100 Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground in Texas, with an additional 542 on the way. Together, they have helped to:
· Along with our partners, serve almost 1.8 million meals and snacks;
· Mobilize nearly 190 emergency response vehicles to help deliver meals and relief supplies;
· Provide nearly 62,000 health and mental health contacts to provide support and care to evacuees; and
· Distribute more than 422,000 relief items like diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies, coolers, and comfort kits that contain deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items.
It Takes A Village
Join us as we take a trip to the Walnut Hill Recreation Center in Houston this past Sunday afternoon when the American Red Cross shelter was busy and full of both Hurricane Harvey evacuees and helpers:
Mayor Mike Rawlings and his wife arrived earlier with other city officials to pray over lunch and welcome shelter residents in the makeshift cafeteria.
American Red Cross volunteer, Carol Gottlieb, 67, demonstrated multitasking. One minute she helped a 39-week pregnant shelter resident get good quality baby lotion for her itchy skin. “The lotion we had here wasn’t doing the trick, so we helped get her something that worked.” As soon as she finished, a young girl came to her, asking for a blanket. After that Carol quickly grabbed a banana to eat. “My lunch…” she said. “I’ve been here two days, my legs are starting to hurt, but it’s ok.”
Christy Burgess is the Dallas Parks & Recreation Manager of the Walnut Hill Recreation Center, where the Red Cross shelter is housed. She and her team answered phones, emptied trash bins, and kept the facility clean. “We have a very good team working around the clock, willing to do whatever’s necessary to help. We’re cleaning the bathrooms every hour and doing warehouse runs to refill supplies.”
Members of the City of Dallas Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) helped to carry cases of bottled water and unload supplies and donations coming in to the shelter. A Dallas county psychologist, Dr. John Lehman, is part of the Dallas County Medical Reserve Corps here in Dallas. He was there to assist shelter residents with any mental health issues that may arise. “There is a long road ahead; soon it will start to settle in with folks here what it is like back at home.”
These are just a few of the diverse residents banding together to help their friends and neighbors – it truly takes a village, and the American Red Cross is privileged to be a part of the network making hope and recovery possible for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.