Aid workers from Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Honduras, Israel, Mexico, and Spain have joined their American Red Cross counterparts to deliver humanitarian relief to communities devastated by three historic, back-to-back hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria. More than 100 Red Cross workers from around the world deployed to the United States to help communities turned upside down by these three category 4 storms.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria
Thousands of homes were destroyed or suffered major damage when Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Access to drinking water, medical care, and electricity have been major challenges. Soon after Hurricane Maria devastated the islands, teams from Colombia, Costa Rica, Finland, Honduras, and Mexico arrived to support relief efforts. They have put their energy towards sheltering, food and water distribution, logistics, communications, transportation, and warehouse management. They have joined more than 680 American Red Cross volunteers working around the clock in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in response to the storm.
Teams from the Finnish Red Cross and Spanish Red Cross are helping to set up mobile satellites in Puerto Rico so people can reconnect with loved ones, inform family members of their safety, charge their phones, and access Wi-Fi. The Red Crossers saw tears of relief and joy as people reconnected with mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings. The three short words "I am alive" may be all that is needed to ease the minds of distraught loved ones wondering about the fate of family members in the aftermath of disasters. Connectivity provided by the mobile satellites also helps aid workers to coordinate relief efforts in Puerto Rico, where infrastructure and telecommunications networks are badly damaged.
In the Florida Keys—where there is tremendous devastation from Hurricane Irma—a team from the Danish Red Cross flew in with all the equipment to build a base camp on Big Pine Key. The camp—which is housing Red Cross volunteers who are providing disaster relief—was installed to free up housing resources and schools for returning residents. The base camp makes the relief teams self-sufficient and enables the community to start their recovery. They join more than 1,100 Red Cross workers responding to Hurricane Irma by providing shelter, food, mental health & health services, and comfort to people across six states.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, 33 Mexican Red Cross emergency responders deployed to the region to help in shelters and with community outreach to Spanish-speaking communities. They also distributed food and relief supplies. Even after the recent deadly earthquake in Mexico, several of these volunteers are now helping in Puerto Rico. Israel’s Magen David Adom also sent a team to Texas to help with the Hurricane Harvey relief effort. The trained disaster specialists helped with sheltering and distributing meals in the metro Houston area.
Five weeks after Hurricane Harvey caused the largest flooding event in US history, the American Red Cross continues to provide shelter, food, relief supplies and direct financial assistance to people in need.
As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, Red Cross Red Crescent teams offer relief and hope in nearly every corner of the globe. Responders are bringing aid to disaster zones around the globe—from the USA to Syria, Bangladesh, and Mexico. Together, we leverage specialized skills where they are needed most and gain access to places no other aid agencies can go. Delivering on our humanitarian mission is a true team effort.
For more information on these massive relief efforts, visit redcross.org.