American Red Cross - INFORMATION UPDATE: Hurricane Harvey - Michael Israel

American Red Cross – INFORMATION UPDATE: Hurricane Harvey

Donor Bulletin: Hurricane Harvey

August 31, 2017


The full scope of Harvey’s damage is coming into focus, and it is stunning. Officials are estimating that more than 100,000 homes have been damaged so far in and around Houston and up to 40,000 destroyed. With that level of displacement, residents continue to pour into shelters set up by the Red Cross and partner agencies. At least 33,000 people stayed in them Wednesday night alone. Attached is a Donor Bulletin that provides more details on our work.


While shelter living is simple, it can also be lifesaving. People find a safe place to sleep there, receive warm meals and discover a sense of community. During one of life’s darkest moments, it is so meaningful to be with others who understand your devastation and to meet trained Red Cross volunteers, who are in the shelter solely to meet your immediate needs and assure you that life will get better.


“My kids are able to lay their heads down and be warm,” says Kristine, a shelter resident in this moving new video from Houston, “It’s good to feel secure with people helping us.”


Thank you for your support,
Paula Prendergast
Executive Director

August 30, 2017 at 4:30 PM ET


Hurricane Harvey

Situation Update

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by what is now being called the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history. The American Red Cross is working around the clock to get help to where it is needed most.

Harvey has now set a record, surpassing 50 inches for the greatest amount of measured single-storm rainfall in the continental U.S.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has stated that this is unlike anything they have seen before, with an area of Texas comparable to the size of Lake Michigan submerged by floodwaters.

Life-threatening floods continue to impact communities around Houston and into southwest Louisiana, even as additional rain is forecast for the Gulf Coast. The National Weather Service estimates that six million Texans have been inundated by 30 inches or more of rainfall, and preliminary FEMA estimates indicate as many as 67,000 homes in Texas may be damaged.

Water rescues are still taking place hourly, while numerous hospitals and nursing facilities are evacuating patients and residents. Transportation, travel and housing are expected to be impacted for an extended period of time. Schools and airports are closed, and hundreds of thousands of people remain without power. Communications systems are out and multiple water treatment plants are shut down in Texas and Louisiana. Several oil refineries and chemical plants are also shut down.

As Harvey moves inland, other parts of the country will receive heavy rain. We are monitoring the storm as it moves north, preparing to mount additional relief efforts if needed. image from 5 am ET, 8/30/17 image from 11:30 am ET, 8/30/17


Red Cross Response

The Red Cross is mounting a massive response to get help to people in need. Access into many areas is still quite difficult, and we are partnering with the U. S. Coast Guard and the Texas National Guard to move supplies and volunteers to the areas with the greatest need. Our first priority is keeping people safe while providing shelter, food and comfort for thousands facing devastating losses.

Emergency responders continued to bring rescued families to shelters throughout the night, and thousands of evacuees streamed in on their own. Dedicated Red Cross volunteers and employees are tirelessly providing help and reassurance to flood survivors:


  • An estimated 32,000 or more people sought refuge in over 230 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas Tuesday night. Three shelters are also open in Louisiana, with shelters standing by in other states, including Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas, in case they are needed.
  • More than 1,500 Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground, and additional help is on the way.
  • Along with our partners, we have served more than 180,000 meals and snacks since the storm began.
  • We have trailers of kitchen supplies on the ground to support six kitchens, each able to produce 10,000 meals a day – and six more trailers are on the way.
  • We also have about 116,000 ready-to-eat meals currently on the ground with an additional 39,000 in transit.
  • More than half of our emergency response fleet – 200 specially equipped Emergency Response Vehicles – have been activated for the operation.

With blood products prepositioned in Houston and Dallas ahead of the storm, the Red Cross continues to work closely with local, state and federal authorities to deliver blood and platelets to our hospital partners in flood affected areas.

Safety Update

Be safe. Listen to the advice of emergency officials. People in life-threatening situations that need rescue should call 9-1-1 or the U.S. Coast Guard at 281-464-4851, 281-464- 4852, 281-464-4853, 281-464-4854, 281-464-4855.

Please be patient during this trying situation. The Coast Guard reports they are receiving as many as 1,000 calls per hour.

You can find shelters by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767), visiting or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

If you need to find a shelter, you can also check with your local officials for information on where to find a shelter. Monitoring your local media may also help. Anyone who plans to stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items and important documents. Don’t forget to bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique needs.

You can also visit the Hurricane Safety and Flood Safety pages on the Red Cross website for a comprehensive list of safety and preparedness information.

News Articles, Blogs and Stories
Harvey Response: Inside our Red Cross Shelters in Texas – August 29, 2017
Video: “It’s good to feel secure.” What the Red Cross is doing to help families in Texas – August 30, 2017


Photos & Social Media


August 28, 2017. George R. Brown Convention Center, Red Cross Mega Shelter, Houston, Texas. “I guess we gotta go.” were the words Oralia Guerra uttered to her boyfriend, Diamond Robinson after 8 inches of water ominously laid stagnant in their single story house after the first night of flooding in Houston.They decided to attempt an evacuation with approximately 20” of flood waters outside of their home. “The water was up over the tires of our cars when we left. But we were walkin’ through. Sometimes it was dry, in others it was about 20 inches…. but just knew it was gonna get worse so we had to get out.” Diamond recalled of the traumatic experience. Photo by Daniel Cima for the American Red Cross



August 28, 2017. George R. Brown Convention Center, Red Cross Mega Shelter Houston, Texas. Shelter residents in communal sleeping quarters. Photo by Daniel Cima for the American Red Cross



August 28, 2017. George R. Brown Convention Center, Red Cross Mega Shelter, Houston, Texas. Shelter resident, Cody Vela and dog Jackie, seek refuge from Hurricane Harvey at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Photo by Daniel Cima for the American Red Cross



August 29, 2017. La Grange, Texas. Red Cross volunteer assess flood damage in La Grange, Texas. Photo by Chuck Haupt for the American Red Cross




Screenshot of open shelters at 8:43 am ET, 8/30/17




Screenshot of open shelters at 4 pm ET, 8/29/17

Thank you to everyone joining this effort!


Thank you,
Paula Prendergast
Executive Director

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