Breckenridge Texan

August 27
12:14 2017

As Texas continues to suffer the effects of Hurricane Harvey with ongoing rain, flooding, tornadoes and more, disaster relief efforts are underway.

The Red Cross has mobilized hundreds of trained Red Cross disaster relief workers, truckloads of kitchen supplies, and tens of thousands of ready-to-eat meals to support this response effort. Trailers full of shelter supplies including cots and blankets—enough to support more than 20,000 people—arrived in Texas within the past two days. More than 40 Red Cross emergency response vehicles are activated with more on alert. The Red Cross is also working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners in both Texas and Louisiana to coordinate response efforts.

KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi reports that, at the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott, more than 2,000 members of the Texas Military Department’s Army National Guard, Air National Guard and Texas State Guard are assisting in recovery efforts following landfall of Hurricane Harvey.

However, according to a Houston Chronicle article, a message regarding the National Guard being shared on social media is not accurate. The article states: “A message reading ‘The National Guard is being deployed to our Texas area. If you find yourself in a state of emergency. Call 1-800-527-3907. Please copy, paste or share!’ is making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter. That phone number is for an insurance company based out of state and not a number to an actual governmental entity. You will not be rescued or helped by calling that number. There is no apparent source for the message and a government agency has not shared a number for assistance. If you are in true danger, call emergency officials and or 911 instead.”

Houston shelter

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked the American Red Cross to open a shelter to ensure the safety of those in the community facing widespread damage due to Hurricane Harvey.

“Opening a shelter for Houstonians is the next step in calm care for our city as we face the prospect of several days of heavy rain,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “We want to assure people who live in flood prone areas, as well our most vulnerable residents, that resources will be available if they need them. With the experience of the American Red Cross on our side, we will continue to muster every available resource to protect all residents as much as possible from this very unpredictable threat.”

The shelter is now open at M.O. Campbell Education Center, 1865 Aldine Bender Road, Houston, Texas 77032.

“We are in complete agreement with the Mayor and share the same commitment to the safety of our citizens,” said David Brady, Regional Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross of the Texas Gulf Coast. “We will continue working with the City to ensure all citizens receive food, shelter and comfort in the wake of this horrific storm.”

Another shelter will be opened at a site to be determined jointly by the City of Houston and the Red Cross.

Need for volunteers

Part of the Red Cross preparation is a call-out for volunteers.

“This is the type of situation we prepare for year-round,” said David Brady, Regional Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross of the Texas Gulf Coast. “Long before a disaster happens, we are meeting with community partners, securing locations for shelters and training our teams to deliver critical services when needed.”

As Harvey developed, the Red Cross coordinated assets such as kitchen support, shelter trailers and emergency response vehicles to be deployed throughout the Texas Gulf Coast. The organization is also asking for Texas residents to consider joining its volunteer ranks in the coming days.

“We could never do what we do without the dedication of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors. Regarding volunteers and the possible severity of this storm, we want to be sure we have enough people to help us help others,” Brady said.

Volunteer positions include warehousing, shelter management, supply distribution and administrative support. Those interested in volunteering can register at redcross.org/volunteer.

How you can help

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

Other relief efforts

Some of the other organizations offering disaster relief to Texas during this disaster include:  The Salvation ArmySamaritan’s Purse, Save The Children, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and Heart to Heart International, Global Samaritan Resources, Children’s Hunger Fund, and more. Additionally, a variety of animal rescue groups are assisting with pets displaced by the disaster.

Checking on family, friends

Those looking to check on family in friends in the area hit by Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent flooding and storms may find it difficult to get in touch. Downed power lines and weak or nonexistent phone service may hamper communication between the affected area and the rest of the world. Those who are safe are encouraged to use Facebook’s Safety Check option to indicate their status. Additionally, the Red Cross offers a Safe and Well program through which family members may check in with each other.

News

For news on Hurricane Harvey, see this story courtesy of The Texas Tribune: Harvey brings catastrophic flooding to Houston.

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