Hurricane Irene Case Statement


Delivering Help, Providing Hope

The Red Cross Response to Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene made landfall on August 26, devastating parts of the East Coast with torrential rains and high-speed winds. The hurricane downed trees and power lines, and flooded many communities, leaving many of those in its path with the daunting task of starting over.  They are turning to the American Red Cross for the shelter, food and emergency assistance that is critical to beginning their recovery.  The Red Cross is turning to you. With your support, we can ensure each and every person receives the help they need to cope with the devastating aftermath of this storm.

From the moment this hurricane threatened the East Coast, the Red Cross mobilized on all fronts. Even though every disaster response begins with the local Red Cross chapter, during large scale disasters such as hurricanes, the Red Cross network of more than 600 chapters leverages its force of more than 60,000 trained disaster workers, diverse partnerships for such services as meals or logistic support, strategically located warehouses stocked with relief items and more than 320 emergency response vehicles to trigger the rapid deployment of resources from across the nation to the East Coast.  The Red Cross was there, and will remain, until the last person who seeks assistance receives it. 

One Family’s Story of Hope and Comfort in a Red Cross Shelter

Florence Topping cradled her sleeping great-grandson,Tyler, in her lap and gazed calmly across the American Red Cross shelter in a church gymnasium inRocky Mount,N.C., Friday, August 26.  Nearby, church members entertained her other two great-grandchildren, Ny’Mir and Miricah, with a story and coloring books. 

(Click here for more pictures)

The Red Cross delivered hot meals to Florence and her neighbors after Hurricane Isabel left them without electricity in 2003.  But with forecasters touting Hurricane Irene’s disastrous potential, she thought it best to leave her little community of Swan Quarter, protected from the open Atlantic only by frail Okracoke Island.

The Red Cross is arranging for meals to be brought in for the nearly 60 evacuees; the county health department has nurses on hand.  At the Red Cross shelter,Florencefound a cot for herself and sleeping mats for the children. “They did fall asleep, even with being so excited,” she said gratefully.

The Red Cross has opened 500 shelters where displaced residents can find hot meals, a safe place to wait out the storm and support to develop long-term recovery plans.  Those returning to their homes to either begin repairs or rummage through debris for priceless keepsakes are supported by Red Cross disaster workers delivering cleanup supplies such as gloves, rakes and garbage bags, as well as meals and snacks from our emergency response vehicles.  While some trained disaster workers assess damage to determine the resources needed by those affected, others are comforting residents reeling from the sudden loss of their belongings and the disruption of their lives.  Those who lost contact with their loved ones and do not have power or telephone service can leave message of their wellbeing for the Safe and Well Red Cross website at any Red Cross shelter.

It is only through the generosity of our donors that the Red Cross is able to provide these services to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Irene.  Every year the Red Cross spends an average of $450 million on our Disaster Services program.  That includes the cost of the direct services to our clients – feeding, sheltering and emotional support – for the nearly 70,000 disasters we respond to each year.  It also includes the costs to maintain those things that help us provide assistance to people in need.  We have warehouses, disaster response vehicles, volunteers, call centers, computer systems and staff ready to respond year round.  If we didn’t maintain these resources 24-7, we couldn’t get help to people in a timely fashion.  Any donation is deeply appreciated and will greatly help our efforts.

The Red Cross is doing everything we can to ensure that when families and individuals are affected by disaster, we are there.  We need your help if we are to continue to provide the level of service that families and individuals need and expect from us whenever and wherever disaster strikes. 

How You Can Help

You can help people affected by disasters like Hurricane Irene, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.  Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.  Visit call 1-800-RED-CROSS.  Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 91, Columbia, SC 29202.

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