Minor flooding is nothing new in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but as Jameelah Shaw watched Hurricane Isaias move up the East Coast on the news earlier this month, she was still caught off guard. On August 4th she witnesses floodwater “rushing in” from the next street over, and before she knew it, her Philadelphia neighborhood, Eastwick, was submerged.
“I told my daughter, hurry up and move your car. She moved her car, when she walked back, when she moved her car the water was at her feet, when she came back it was here, waistline,” Shaw said.
Even with an eye on the local news and an eye on the sky, Shaw said the flooding happened so quickly she didn't have time to save her home or belongings.
“It started about 1:00, about 1:15 my whole rec room, laundry room, garage, up my steps, the second step from the top landing all was underwater. My electric meter, my solar panel meter, everything was under water, in a matter of 15 minutes,” she said.
Shaw was one of hundreds of people in Southeastern Pennsylvania to be forced out of their homes by the contaminated water that week, and one of about 350 people to stay in local Red Cross shelters.
In response to the flooding caused by Hurricane Isaias, the Red Cross provided a cumulative 3,012 overnight stays for those displaced, mostly from Philadelphia, Delaware and later Chester counties. More than 100 Red Cross workers supported the relief effort, which included serving more than 3,500 meals and snacks together with partners, distributing more than 2,000 emergency items, and conducting more than 1,400 health services contacts for COVID-19 safety. Altogether, the Red Cross assisted more than 650 people with recovery support, in what ended up being the region’s largest disaster response operation since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Shaw said because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she couldn’t stay with family, so she came to the Red Cross. She said having a safe place to stay in the short term took a lot off her mind enabling her to plan for a long-term solution. “We had nowhere to go. And you guys came in, Red Cross came in, you guys put us in hotels, even with our animals. You fed us three times a day,” Shaw said.
With government officials predicting an active hurricane season, the Red Cross remains ready to help the next time disaster strikes. Learn how you can prepare for the next emergency by visiting https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to prepare-for-emergencies.html