People in Alaska and Puerto Rico are still struggling with the heartbreaking damage left behind by Hurricane Fiona and Typhoon Merbok and the American Red Cross is on the ground in both regions, helping people impacted by these devastating storms.
PUERTO RICO Nearly half a million people in Puerto Rico are still living without power and thousands more have no running water more than a week after Hurricane Fiona hit the island. Red Cross disaster workers, many with no power or water themselves, are working around the clock with our partners to provide comfort and support.
Preliminary damage reports indicate that almost 400 homes were destroyed or suffered major damage.
The Red Cross is working 24/7 with local partners to get help to where it is needed most. In Puerto Rico, more than 175 people spent Monday night in 14 shelters shelters opened and managed by the government. Some of these shelters are being powered by solar systems made possible by a Red Cross contribution of nearly $1.5 million after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. Along with our partners, we delivered solar power to 160 schools at that time, many of them serving as emergency shelters today.
More than 280 trained Red Cross volunteers are helping assess the damage and have provided more than 2,600 households with more than 17,800 relief items, including comfort kits and other supplies. With the help of partners, more than 25,700 meals and snacks have been provided.
Trained volunteers are providing health and mental health services and spiritual care in emergency shelters and throughout the affected communities. This also includes replacing of eyeglasses, other medical supplies or prescriptions.
It’s important to remember that responding to disasters is a team effort and no single organization can do it alone — the Red Cross will coordinate with officials and emergency management to help those affected.
ALASKA The Red Cross is deploying disaster teams by plane to rural areas across western Alaska where Typhoon Merbok struck more than a week ago, causing flooding powerful enough to damage homes, seawalls, roads and airport runways as well as water systems.
Initial damage assessment is complete in 27 communities with significant damage reported due to the storm and subsequent flooding. Red Cross disaster workers are distributing emergency supplies to assist with home repair and support the significant populations that rely on a substance lifestyle.
Hunting and fishing are important for the local economies and cultures of many families and communities in Alaska, especially in rural areas where families depend on these resources for food. Power outages led to many families losing what they stored for use this winter.
With winter’s freezing temperatures expected in the coming weeks, recovery from the storm is a major concern. Air travel and delivery of goods and supplies by barge will halt soon because of the oncoming cold weather. In some remote areas, these are the main methods of getting supplies people will need to recover from Merbok.
The Red Cross will assist with the distribution of emergency supplies, including non-traditional materials to help residents in need. Alaska presents unique challenges after a disaster, from limited access to supplies, to the unique cultural lifestyles within the communities. The Red Cross is prepared to help these communities recover according to their traditional values and meet the needs this disaster has caused.
If people lost equipment required for a subsistence lifestyle, we are prepared to help procure food storage, food gathering, and building materials, to allow people to return to their normal living situation before the extreme winter weather arrives within the next several weeks.
YOU CAN HELP people affected by disasters like storms, floods and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. 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.
For those interested in helping people specifically affected by the storms in Alaska, they can write “Alaska Storms” in the memo line of a check and mail it with a completed donation form to the address on the form or to their local Red Cross chapter.
For those interested in helping people specifically affected by Hurricane Fiona, they can write “Hurricane Fiona” in the memo line of a check and mail it with a completed donation form to the address on the form or to their local Red Cross chapter.
Find the donation form at redcross.org/donate.