Almost eight weeks after Hurricane Harvey caused the largest flooding event in U.S. history, communities are continuing to recover and the American Red Cross is shifting our focus to support these longer-term efforts.
The need for Red Cross emergency services has steadily declined. Shelter populations have steadily decreased while federal, state and nonprofit programs are supporting housing solutions. The Red Cross will shift our focus to how we can help support long-term recovery efforts as the need for emergency shelter, food and relief supplies dwindles.
To help in the immediate aftermath of Texas, the Red Cross provided shelter to people who had lost everything, sent emergency response vehicles to drive through communities to deliver food, meals, snacks and relief items, and had volunteers providing emotional and spiritual support in addition to health services for those in need. The Red Cross has also authorized payment of more than $190 million in direct financial assistance to help more than 477,000 Texas households spanning from Brownsville to Port Arthur, as of October 9.
The Red Cross is committed to being a part of the long-term recovery effort in There continues to be unmet needs, and the Red Cross is turning the focus of resources to the next phase of recovery. This next phase will center on recovery support for households whose homes were destroyed or suffered major damage and need extra help. This includes additional financial assistance. We are working alongside community and government partners now to develop these longer-term plans and will share additional information in the next few weeks.
Because of the incredible generosity of our donors, we plan to commit additional significant resources to support efforts across the impacted areas on top of the more than $190 million already distributed. We are also ensuring funds are available to support community based long-term recovery efforts.