One year ago, Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms to ever impact the country, hit the Florida Panhandle, destroying homes and businesses in places like Mexico Beach and Panama City. Michael’s ferocity stunned many with its 150 mph winds and 14-foot storm surge. The American Red Cross launched a massive relief response to help those in the storm’s path.
Working with partners, the Red Cross set up shelters and deployed relief supplies, equipment and emergency response vehicles to the area to help the tens of thousands of people impacted by the hurricane.
For many, Michael did not leave enough time to evacuate and they needed a safe place to stay after the storm passed. With government and community partners, the Red Cross provided that shelter. People needed food and water, which was available at the shelters and distributed in storm-ravaged communities when it was declared safe for people to return home.
Many residents had no time to gather daily essentials like toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and diapers. To help meet these needs, the Red Cross provided comfort kits with basic personal hygiene items. When people began cleaning up debris in and around their damaged homes, the Red Cross delivered coolers, bug spray and clean-up supplies like rakes, shovels and buckets.
Red Cross mental health and spiritual care workers provided emotional support to people as they faced
not only the trauma of evacuations, but also the return to their damaged homes. Volunteer health workers were also on hand to offer first aid, help, monitor medical conditions and replace lost prescription medications or eyeglasses.
The Red Cross also provided immediate financial assistance to people in the weeks after Michael hit the region. Thanks to support from generous donors, the Red Cross provided $450 each to thousands of severely impacted individuals and families—totaling over $3.9 million—helping them meet some of their most urgent needs such as groceries, utilities, clothing, or help with rent and security deposits.
Today, the Red Cross continues to provide support for hurricane survivors. Collaborating with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses and faith-based organizations, the Red Cross is helping residents access the critical services and resources they need to rebuild their lives. The Red Cross has also provided additional financial assistance—totaling approximately $8.5 million—to thousands of households that needed extra help. This recovery assistance allowed residents to prioritize their own needs, from helping with the purchase of a new roof or specialized medical equipment to paying for transportation and lodging costs.
More than 8,400 households which were either destroyed or damaged were provided with financial assistance totaling $12.4 million through the Red Cross.
Throughout our emergency response, thousands of Red Cross disaster workers provided:
- More than 48,900 overnight shelter stays in 113 Red Cross and community shelters
- With the help of partners, served more than two million meals and snacks
- Distributed more than 269,200 relief items
- Made more than 42,400 individual care contacts
As the storm moved inland, parts of Alabama and Georgia also received damage. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, the Red Cross has raised $36.7 million, which includes the value of donated critical goods and services, to help Hurricane Michael survivors in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. As of September 30, 2019, the Red Cross has allocated approximately $35 million for emergency relief and recovery efforts to help people affected by Hurricane Michael. The remaining funds will be used to help with unmet needs for individuals and families impacted by the storm, as well as to support longer-term community-based recovery services.
See our complete Hurricane Michael One-Year Update here.