The American Red Cross and our partners are working around the clock to help people recover and have access to safe water as almost 43,000 households remain without power across four states and millions of people in Texas are still under water boil advisories after last week’s devastating winter storms.
The destruction caused by the unprecedented arctic blast could possibly exceed Hurricane Harvey’s $19 billion in losses in Texas and be one of the costliest in the state’s history. Millions were left without water and electricity due to pipeline damages and power grid failures. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, more than 1,300 public water systems in the state are under boil advisories, affecting more than seven million people. Many schools and businesses remain closed due to storm damage, especially broken water pipes.
To support recovery, the federal government is providing disaster assistance in 100 Texas counties. This could include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help people recover from last week’s winter storm. Apply online for FEMA assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients in Texas may also apply for replacement benefits for food lost or destroyed by dialing 211.
RED CROSS RESPONSE The Red Cross is working with government and community partners to coordinate food and water distribution to where it is most needed.
The Red Cross is also providing water for people at the emergency shelters we are managing and supporting. Many organizations who specialize in distributing water are at work in the affected communities. When possible, we are also helping to connect partners who want to make water donations with communities in need of those resources. If you need water and are not currently sheltering with the Red Cross, please call 211 or reach out to your local county or city officials for locations of water distribution sites in your community.
Tuesday night, the Red Cross and community organizations cared for more than 40 people in emergency shelters. Almost 8,000 people stayed overnight in shelters since the storms began. All Red Cross-supported shelters have COVID-19 safety protocols in place. This includes conducting a health screening process for everyone coming into the shelter, providing masks, ensuring additional space between cots, and using enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices.
More than 350 Red Cross disaster workers are providing shelter, have served more than 95,100 meals and snacks and distributed more than 23,700 emergency supplies, including kits to help people clean up after pipes burst in their homes. Red Cross workers have also provided nearly 2,000 individual care contacts to help people with medical or disability needs, or to provide emotional and spiritual support.
Visit redcross.org/shelter, download the free Red Cross Emergency app or call 211 to find a safe location near you.
WATER SAFETY If your community is under a boil advisory, you should boil water before drinking it or using it to wash your hands or face, brush your teeth, prepare food, wash dishes or make ice. To boil water for drinking and other uses, first use a coffee filter or a layer of clean cloth to strain your water. Next, in a large pot or kettle, bring water to a rolling boil for one full minute. Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD February’s winter storms forced the cancellation of Red Cross blood drives in more than 30 states, impacting approximately 21,000 blood, platelet and convalescent plasma donations. As weather improves, it’s vital that eligible individuals come out to give blood to help restock the shelves — especially those with type O blood — to ensure patients have continued access to the treatments they need.
Donation appointments can be made for the coming days and weeks by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device .People who present to donate between now and February 28 will receive a $5 Amazon gift card.
YOUR DONATION WILL SUPPORT PEOPLE IN NEED The Red Cross works 24/7 to be ready to respond to disasters like storms and other countless crises. Please donate today to help. Every single donation will make a difference in someone’s life. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
CORPORATIONS, FOUNDATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS 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.
ADGP $1 Million members are: Amazon; American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; The Home Depot Foundation; Latter-day Saint Charities; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc.; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Truist Foundation; UPS; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; Aon; Capital One; Citi Foundation; The Clorox Company; The Coca-Cola Foundation; Delta Dental Community Care Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company; Fox Corporation; General Motors; HCA Healthcare; IBM Corporation; International Paper; The J.M. Smucker Company; Johnson Controls Foundation; The Kroger Co. Foundation; LHC Group; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; New Balance Foundation; PayPal; PepsiCo Foundation; Progressive Insurance; Salesforce; Sands Cares; Southwest Airlines; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie; The Starbucks Foundation; Takeda Pharmaceutical; Target; The TJX Companies, Inc.; Toyota; United Airlines; The USAA Foundation, Inc.; Visa Foundation; The Walt Disney Company; and The Wawa Foundation.
Disaster Responder Program members are: 7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; American Express; Assurant; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; The Ball Foundation; Barclays; CarMax; Choice Hotels International; Cisco Foundation; CNA Insurance; The Coca-Cola Company; Consumer Cellular; CSX; Darden Foundation; DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; Dominion Energy; Duke Energy; Equitable; Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation; FirstEnergy Foundation; Grainger; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; Humble Bundle; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation; Lenovo; Liberty Mutual Insurance; Mastercard; Northrop Grumman; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Old Dominion Freight Line; Procter & Gamble; Prudential Financial; Raytheon Technologies; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Foundation; Ryder System, Inc.; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Security Finance’s Lending Hand Foundation; Tata Consultancy Services; TD Ameritrade; Trane Technologies Charitable Foundation; U-Haul International; and U.S. Bank Foundation.