When most of us think of powerful hurricanes that hit the United States in 2012, the name Sandy comes to mind. But for thousands of people along the Gulf Coast, the storm they remember goes by the name of Isaac.
It has been one year since Hurricane Isaac battered the Gulf Coast with heavy rain and powerful wind gusts, causing destructive storm surges, flooding and massive power outages that affected hundreds of thousands of people living in Louisiana, Mississippi and other Gulf states. The American Red Cross immediately launched a large relief effort across multiple states to help people in Isaac’s path of destruction.
RED CROSS RESPONSE In the days following Isaac’s landfall, the Red Cross opened nearly 160 shelters to offer refuge to thousands of Gulf Coast residents. More than 5,300 trained disaster workers and 250 emergency vehicles were deployed to the region where the Red Cross served almost 649,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 140,000 relief items and provided more than 16,300 health and mental health services.
REBUILDING LIVES - Rosemary Jackson and her family saw their belongings and a lifetime of memories washed away by Isaac’s floodwaters When the water reached chest height, Jackson and her three children – including one with cerebral palsy, were hoisted by boat from their home in LaPlace, Louisiana.
“I’ve never seen anything like that; I just couldn’t believe how quickly the water consumed everything in the house,” Jackson said, describing the harrowing moments before the family’s rescue. “My main concern was making sure my kids were okay.”
The family evacuated 60 miles to Baton Rouge to live with family and later rented a home in LaPlace to better oversee renovation of the flood-damaged home, paid for by the family’s flood insurance. But when construction was complete, Jackson could not move her family back in. She had nothing left to furnish the home.
Jackson worked with her Red Cross caseworker to address the special needs associated with her recovery. She was provided with the assistance she needed to purchase beds, dressers, a dinette set, sofa and loveseat. The family also received a gift card to an area department store to purchase linens and replace other household needs.
Earlier this summer, the Jackson family returned to a refurbished home in their old neighborhood. “It really feels good to be back in my home, and I’m thankful to Red Cross for helping us finally come home,” Jackson said.
BIG CLEAN-UP Harold Stanton is a U.S. Army veteran, but when the torrential rains of Hurricane Isaac flooded his street, neighborhood and then his home, the clean-up left more than he could handle on his own.
Stanton and his wife, Brenda, planned to live in the damaged home so that he could complete the repairs on his own. When health issues prevented him from spending time on reconstruction projects, the couple turned to the Red Cross and the parish’s long-term recovery committee for help.
The Red Cross has been helping the Stanton family rebuild their lives. Their caseworker helped them develop a recovery plan and locate resources. The Stantons received funds for building materials, kitchen appliances and a washer and dryer.
Despite losing many personal items, Stanton remains grateful that his entire family survived the storm. “We’re not finished rebuilding; there is still a lot of work left to do. But we are hopeful, and we are comfortable,” Mr. Stanton said.
HURRICANE APP The Red Cross had launched its free Hurricane App several weeks before Isaac, which generated about 25,000 downloads in three days after the launch. But as Isaac neared the coast, the number of downloads jumped, which about 225,000 users downloading the app to their mobile devices during Isaac. Most popular was the app’s alert function, along with information about available shelters and steps to get prepared as the storm neared. Since its launch, the Hurricane App, available in both English and Spanish, has been downloaded more than 860,000 times and sent almost 1 million NOAA weather alerts. The Hurricane App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.
70,000 DISASTERS A YEAR Every year, the American Red Cross responds to about 70,000 disasters in the United States. In addition to major disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires, the Red Cross also assists at smaller emergencies like house fires that affect a single family. If you would like to help ensure the Red Cross is able to fulfill its mission of preventing and alleviating suffering in the face of emergencies, you can make a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. You can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.