The American Red Cross has a massive relief response underway along the Gulf Coast where Isaac's strong winds and relentless rain are continuing to leave flooded homes and thousands of evacuees in its wake.
Overnight more than 4,700 people stayed in as many as 80 Red Cross or community shelters in seven states. More people may need shelter Thursday as evacuations continue. In addition to staffing shelters, the more than 3,000 Red Cross disaster workers have already served more than 22,000 meals and snacks.
"We need the public's help," reported Charley Shimanski, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services. "We expect to be in the Gulf Coast region for weeks helping people recover from Isaac, even as we are still helping people out west affected by wildfires. It's been a busy summer and our costs are growing by the hour. People can help by donating today."
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.
More help on the way:
While focusing on providing emergency sheltering and feeding, the Red Cross is also starting to move more volunteers, equipment and relief supplies into communities as the storm exits.
"Before the storm struck, we put workers, equipment, vehicles and trailers full of supplies just outside the impact area," Shimanski said. "As the storm moves out of some communities, we're starting to move assistance in and we'll be providing people with food, water and relief supplies in the days ahead."
The Red Cross sent 311,000 ready-to-eat meals to the area, and 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. Other community partners assisting along the Gulf include AmeriCorps, Islamic Relief USA, NAACP and the National Baptist Convention USA, helping with things like sheltering, feeding, driving disaster vehicles and logistics.
Volunteers from Florida's Southern Gulf Region have deployed every day this week to help Red Cross relief operations along the Gulf Coast. As of Thursday, 12 local Red Crossers have flown or driven to states such as Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana. More volunteers are on-call and may be requested at any time.
People along the Gulf Coast should follow instructions from officials on when to evacuate and when it's safe to return home. They 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.
The hurricane app can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. It also provides important safety information and a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. The Safe and Well website is secure and people can register by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). This site also connects with the Twitter and Facebook accounts of users.
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 blog.redcross.org.