In anticipation of landfall of Tropical Storm Alex, the American Red Cross has deployed workers, prepared shelters, and moved Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) into the south Texas.
The storm is expected to make landfall in Mexico early Thursday morning south of Brownsville, Texas. The National Hurricane Center reports storm winds could reach 92 mph, with the possibility of significant flooding to the area.
The American Red Cross has deployed 17 ERVs to south Texas, with eight additional vehicles and crews on stand-by. Kitchen equipment is also on the way from the Red Cross warehouse in San Antonio and shelter workers are prepared for those who may have to evacuate to Red Cross shelters in the region. Twenty shelters are set to open, including three that will provide medical care with doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) on staff.
“This storm could cause significant flooding, forcing people to stay in our shelters for longer periods,” said Joe Becker, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services. “People should listen to local officials and evacuate when told to do so.”
The Mexican Red Cross is sending trailers with relief supplies for as many as 20,000 people. In Guatemala, Red Cross responders focused on health care, evacuations, damage assessment and analysis of the area in the path of the storm. The El Salvadoran Red Cross helped with health services and keeping the public informed about the emergency. In Belize, Red Cross responders are monitoring rising water levels.
The American Red Cross begins preparing for potential hurricanes well before the first storm even forms. Shelter locations are planned ahead of time with local and state officials and chapters can open shelters within a few hours if needed. Shelter supplies such as cots and blankets are available nationwide at all times to support a half million shelter residents. Disaster relief supplies such as soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, mops, gloves, and disinfectant are also available, located in 24 warehouses near disaster-prone areas.
Partnering with organizations like the Southern Baptists and Salvation Army, the Red Cross has the capacity to prepare and serve 1 million meals a day in communities hit by a disaster. This enormous feeding effort can be accomplished with trailer-based kitchens, kitchens run by Red Cross partners, with the help of local vendors and caterers, and with a supply of shelf-stable meals. If people can’t get to a kitchen, a fleet of over 320 mobile response vehicles can serve meals on mobile routes.
In addition, the Red Cross has more than 90,000 trained disaster workers, 93 percent of which are volunteers, available to help if needed. These workers can be deployed into a disaster affected area from all across the United States to support Red Cross relief activities.
As the Red Cross finalizes preparations to respond to Alex, it is important for people who could be affected by the storm to get themselves and their loved ones ready too. For information on how to get ready for a hurricane, visit www.redcross.org.