Post by Richard Reed, Senior Vice President, Disaster Cycle Services
They say everything is bigger in Texas. They aren’t kidding. I’m writing to you from here in the Lone Star state. I came to see the operation in action and to spend time with the volunteers and employees who are putting in serious overtime helping those devastated by the floods and tornadoes.
For those who aren’t familiar with what’s going on in Texas, here is a good background read. The disaster operations here and in Oklahoma are our largest and most complex since Hurricane Sandy. It’s not just the size that makes it complicated, but the drawn-out nature of the event. So far it’s affected nearly every part of this large state, including both urban and rural areas.
Here are some quick impressions of what I’ve seen on the ground from Red Cross disaster operations:
- The Red Cross has scaled up disaster operations fast. Already, we have multi-agency resource centers set to open this weekend where residents will be able to interact with multiple agencies and community organizations to get the support they need during this tough time.
- Our local Red Cross folks are doing an amazing job, but after a month of responses they are fatigued. So now we’re bringing in support from across the country to give staff here some well-deserved rest. It’s great to see staff working together as we respond to a disaster that impacts thousands of people over such a large geographic area.
- There is incredible collaboration with diverse partners. Red Cross partners include Buddhist Tzu Chi, Southern Baptists Disaster Relief, the Salvation Army, Church of the Brethren, Islamic Relief USA, Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul, Portlight Strategies, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Council of La Raza, and local businesses like HEB Grocery Store. It is inspiring to see the community coming together here to help those in need.
It’s been a long month for the Lone Star state and our responding Red Cross folks here, some of whom have seen their own homes flooded and devastated. Despite the challenges, I am encouraged by the resiliency of Texas, and the compassionate determination of our Red Cross staff who are working tirelessly to help affected communities.
Hats off to all those who have helped out or who have offered their support.
If you’d like to help, please consider making a financial donation. A donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief can help provide food, water and shelter for someone who has had to leave their home. Help people affected by disasters like floods, tornadoes 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. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.