Maui News

19 Hawaiʻi Volunteers Deploy to Assist in Harvey Relief Effort

August 30, 2017, 4:43 PM HST
* Updated August 30, 4:45 PM
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As of Wednesday, Aug. 30, a total of 19 Hawaiʻi Red Cross volunteers have either deployed or will be deployed to assist with the Red Cross response to Harvey, the Red Cross announced today.

Aug. 28, 2017: George R. Brown Convention Center, Red Cross Mega Shelter Houston, TX. Event based volunteers with specialized training sign up to volunteer at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Photo by Daniel Cima for the American Red Cross

Six volunteers from Hawaiʻi, four volunteers from Maui, one volunteer from Molokaʻi, and eight volunteers from Oʻahu will be heading to Texas or Louisiana to assist in relief efforts ranging from damage assessment, bulk distribution, sheltering, community partnerships, finance, feeding and disaster mental health. The group announced that more Hawaiʻi volunteers are on standby to possibly deploy.

The American Red Cross says it’s been working day and night to get help to where it is needed most. Thousands of people have already been forced to abandon their homes, leaving everything they own behind. The Red Cross says that due to continuing rain, more families will be impacted due to flooding and that nearly 50 inches of rain is expected in the region before Harvey leaves.

In Texas, officials are estimating that more than 30,000 people could be forced from their homes, with more than 725,000 people currently under mandatory evacuation orders and more than a million facing voluntary evacuation orders. Thousands more are also being evacuated in Louisiana. Preliminary FEMA estimates indicate as many as 67,000 homes in Texas may be damaged.

The priority of the American Red Cross is keeping people safe while providing shelter, food and a shoulder to lean on. Throughout the night, emergency responders continued to bring rescued families to shelters and thousands of evacuees streamed in on their own.

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Preliminary estimates indicate that at least 17,000 people sought refuge in more than 45 shelters across Texas Monday night. Shelters are also open in Louisiana as the storm moves in to the area.

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The Red Cross says that almost 1,000 volunteers are on the ground and more help is on the way. Nearly 30,000 meals and snacks have been served since the storm began and more than 80 tractor-trailer loads of cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies are now on the ground in Texas. About 73,000 ready-to-eat meals are currently on the ground with an additional 43,000 en route. More than half of the Red Cross’ emergency response fleet – 200 Emergency Response Vehicles – have been activated for the operation.

At the end of last week, the Red Cross prepositioned additional blood products in Houston ahead of the storm to help ensure an adequate blood supply would be available for hospital patients.

More than 14 million hurricane and flood alerts have been issued through Red Cross mobile apps since Thursday, surpassing the 6 million issued for Superstorm Sandy. The alerts provide people with real-time information so they can help protect themselves and their loved-ones.

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The Red Cross is working very closely with the entire response community – government agencies, other non-profit groups, faith-based organizations, area businesses and others – to coordinate emergency relief efforts and get help to people as quickly as possible. The Red Cross is mobilizing its disaster partners to support feeding, child care, disaster assessment and other disaster services.

The Red Cross has a massive relief response underway and needs financial donations to be able to provide immediate disaster relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting here, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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