AUSTIN, Texas - Including the damage caused by Hurricane Nicholas, the American Red Cross is currently responding to a total of 78 major disasters in the U.S.
"That's anything from wildfires in California, and up into Montana and Wyoming, of course Hurricane Ida, we're still heavily involved in Hurricane Ida, both along the Gulf Coast, as well as the massive devastation that was done along the Atlantic seaboard, with flooding anywhere from Tennessee, all the way up to New York," said Richard McAlister, meteorologist and spokesperson for the American Red Cross serving Central and South Texas.
Working with elected officials in eight different Texas counties, volunteers with the American Red Cross serving Central and South Texas helped open five shelters for anyone who had to evacuate due to wind damage, flooding or power outages along the Gulf Coast. Those shelters have since closed, but the organization is still on the ground helping with recovery efforts.
"We are able to shelter those that have been impacted by the disaster. We're able to feed them, but we're not just there for the short term. We're there for the long haul as well. So, we also bring cleanup kits that they can use to help clear their homes after the disasters," McAlister said.
With the pandemic still ongoing, shelters look a little different. The Red Cross uses hotels to keep those in need of a place to sleep properly distanced.
"We have a lot of sheltering capacity and volunteers on standby to open up more sheltering capacity as necessary. Right now, we're trying to do non-congregate sheltering, so as to afford people the best possible protection from COVID. But ,if congregate sheltering is required, we have enough space and we have enough people to do it," said McAlister.
Red Cross officials said it’s always best for people to plan ahead for disasters whenever possible, but for those who find themselves suddenly in harm's way, the organization has created an easier way to find help.
"Another thing folks can do is download the American Red Cross emergency app from your favorite app store. That will help you find the Red Cross shelters in your area, it'll keep you apprised of developments in a disaster area and it'll also help you connect with the American Red Cross iIf you would like to donate or be a Red Cross volunteer," McAlister said.
To learn more about the organization or to volunteer click here. You can also call 800-REDCROSS or text the message "Red Cross" to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
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