Here in Chicago and Northern Illinois, our hearts go out to the thousands of people affected by this catastrophic disaster in Texas. We know this is a challenging and emotional time, and the American Red Cross is working around the clock to get help to where it is needed most.
Thousands of people have been forced to leave their flooded homes, losing everything they own – and the storm isn’t over yet. It is anticipated that many more families will be impacted as rain continues to fall and flooding persists. The area of Texas that's underwater is comparable to the distance between New York and Boston. Tropical Storm Harvey will continue to devastate this large geography for the next several days, delivering as much as another 30 inches of rain. Significant flooding and tornadoes are predicted.
While the American Red Cross is doing all that it can, access into many areas is still quite difficult. Our first priorities are keeping people safe, while providing shelter, food and a shoulder to lean on. We will expand our reach into more communities as soon as officials say it is safe to do so. Preliminary estimates indicate that at least 6,000 people sought refuge in dozens of shelters in Texas Sunday night. We believe this number could be much higher, and will share additional information as it becomes available. Shelters are also open in Louisiana as bands from the storm move to the east.
More than 80 tractor-trailer loads of cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies are now on the ground in Texas. We have shelter supplies for more than 34,000 people, with additional supplies for 18,000 people en route. More than half of our emergency response fleet – 200 vehicles – have been activated for the operation.
You can make a difference for those affected by Hurricane Harvey by setting up an online fundraiser with the American Red Cross. If you have questions, please contact Stephanie Patton with the American Red Cross at Stephanie.Patton@redcross.org or 312-729-6135.