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Red Cross Deploying Local Volunteers to Massive Relief Effort for Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana

Joy Squier | Chief Communications Officer

312.729.6204 (w) | 312.384.0454 (c) 312.907.0520 (24/7 Media Line)


Most Deadly and Devastating Hurricane Forecast to Strike U.S. in Over a Decade

Red Cross Deploying Local Volunteers to Massive Relief Effort for Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana


 Red Cross Offers Critical Flood Safety Steps as Storm Nears Land;

Urges Gulf Coast Residents to Heed Evacuation Orders



(CHICAGO, IL) August 25, 2017 — As Hurricane Harvey nears land, the American Red Cross is mounting a massive relief effort ahead of the most deadly and devastating hurricane forecast to strike the United States in over a decade.


Hurricane Harvey will make landfall tonight along the Texas Gulf Coast with over 100 mph winds and up to 35 inches of rain, leading to devastating and life-threatening flooding. Tornadoes are also possible. The storm is expected to hover over parts of Texas and Louisiana for several days


Evacuation orders are in effect throughout parts of the two states. More than 90 people spent Thursday night in 7 Red Cross shelters and nearly 50 additional shelters are ready to open and support thousands of people if needed. People in the path of this storm should stay informed and immediately heed any evacuation orders underway from local officials.



·         James Connelly, 78, a disaster services instructor, is heading to Texas to manage shelters for people being evacuated from their homes. Connelly trains other volunteers in the Chicago region how to operate shelters and drive emergency response vehicles. A long-time volunteer, this will be Connelly’s 24th deployment.


·         More local volunteers including Emergency Response Vehicle drivers will be deployed in the coming days as this is only the beginning of the storm and need for disaster relief.


“This is a dangerous storm and the next few days are going to challenge everyone along the Gulf Coast. This is the time for folks to come together to support one another,” said Celena Roldán, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “The Red Cross is launching the largest hurricane relief effort in years, and with the help of our partners, we are ready to shelter thousands of people.”


The Red Cross is mobilizing 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—are arriving in Texas today. 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 potential response efforts.



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




People can find a shelter by visiting or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The Emergency App also puts real time information about the storm and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to People should also follow these safety steps:

  • Continue listening to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
  • If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary.
  • Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe to do so.
  • Head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. If driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.

    During the storm:

  • Stay indoors.
  • Don’t walk on beaches, riverbanks or in flood waters.
  • Use flashlights in the dark if the power goes out. Do NOT use candles.
  • Turn off the power and water mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
  • Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets, including sturdy leashes or pet carriers, food and water, bowls, cat litter and pan, and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost.

    CORPORATIONS HELP  The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.


    About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:

    The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.