3 minute readDisaster, Disaster News, Disaster Response

Harvey Response: Inside Our Red Cross Shelters in Texas

Harvey’s aftermath is devastating. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by what is being called the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history. As rain continues to fall, thousands of people have been forced to abandon their homes, leaving everything they own behind and often trudging through dangerous floodwaters to reach safety. NOAA has stated that this is unlike anything they have seen before.

The American Red Cross is working day and night to help those left vulnerable by this catastrophic disaster. Access into many storm affected areas is still difficult, and the Red Cross is partnering with the United States Coast Guard and the Texas National Guard to move supplies and volunteers to where they are needed most.

To learn more about Red Cross relief efforts on the ground, take a peek inside two of our Texas shelters to see how we are helping:

August 28, 2017. Cuero, Texas. (Chuck Haupt/American Red Cross)

Providing safety from the storm: The first priority of the Red Cross is keeping people safe while providing shelter, food and a shoulder to lean on. Preliminary estimates indicate that at least 17,000 people sought refuge in more than 45 shelters across Texas Monday night. This includes at least 8,000 evacuees at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

August 28, 2017. Cuero, Texas. (Chuck Haupt/American Red Cross)

Serving meals and snacks: Along with our partners, the Red Cross has served nearly 30,000 meals and snacks since the storm began. Thousands of more meals will be served in the days ahead.

August 28, 2017. Cuero, Texas. (Chuck Haupt/American Red Cross)

Supplying cots, blankets and more: We know needs will only grow from here. 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. This includes supplies to support six kitchens, each able to produce 10,000 meals a day. About 73,000 ready-to-eat meals are currently on the ground with an additional 43,000 en route.

Chuck Haupt/American Red Cross

Welcoming service animals: The Red Cross welcomes all service animals in our shelters. We know their trained support is important too.

August 28, 2017. George R. Brown Convention Center, Red Cross Mega Shelter, Houston, Texas. (Daniel Cima/American Red Cross)

Finding a place for our furry friends: Red Cross shelters must accommodate a wide range of people. Along with infants, children and the elderly, we may also have people with pet allergies, asthma, or other health issues, and people with a fear of animals. For the well-being of all people who turn to the Red Cross for help after a disaster, there often needs to be physical space between animals and people. Often, that means animals must be housed in a separate area from their owners. Please see information on pets and shelters in Texas.

August 28, 2017. George R. Brown Convention Center, Red Cross Mega Shelter, Houston, Texas. (Daniel Cima/ American Red Cross)

Caring for many individuals: The Red Cross provides services to people with a wide range of needs during a disaster, and our shelter workers try to ensure that everyone who comes to the Red Cross gets the best possible help.

August 28, 2017. George R. Brown Convention Center, Red Cross Mega Shelter, Houston, Texas. (Daniel Cima /American Red Cross)

Supporting emotional needs amid devastation: This is a challenging and emotional time. Families and individuals that have made their way to shelters are often cold and wet, and face many uncertainties. Red Cross health services and mental health workers are present in shelters to tend to the good health and well-being of all residents. Our Red Cross mental health workers help to promote resiliency and good coping skills.

August 28, 2017. George R. Brown Convention Center, Red Cross Mega Shelter Houston, Texas. (Daniel Cima/American Red Cross)

Scaling efforts to match increasing needs: Massive disasters like Hurricane Harvey create more needs than any one organization can meet on their own. We are working very closely with the entire response community – government agencies, other non-profit groups, faith-based organizations, area businesses and others – to coordinate emergency relief efforts and to help people as quickly as possible. This is a time for communities to come together and support one another.

You can join this humanitarian effort. Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


join the conversation.

We encourage you to comment on this blog. All viewpoints are welcome, but please be constructive. We reserve the right to make editorial decisions regarding submitted comments, including but not limited to removal of comments. The comments are moderated, so you may have to be a tiny bit patient in waiting to see them. We will review and post them as promptly as possible during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00 – 5:00). Please read our full comment policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Hi Shauna – Thanks for the question. The American Red Cross is committed to transparency and has posted its Form 990 on its public website, http://www.redcross.org, as it has done in previous years. Rest assured, the Red Cross honors donor intent. You can designate your donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by choosing that option when donating on redcross.org or on 1-800-RED-CROSS.

  2. I live in katy how can I help in this area? Where are the shelters that I can volunteer? How can check in?

  3. I was ask to come in for further training but because we moved from one shelter to the other short notice I helped close. I’ve been thru Katrina, Rita and Now Harvey. How can I further my training.

  4. My heart goes to all, hope when I come to one of the shelters to that I can make a difference amen.

  5. I can’t wait to begin working along with the many compassionate Red Cross volunteers who are working countless hours to help all affected by Harvey. This heartfelt story confirms my need to volunteer.

  6. My husband, John Nordick, and I filled out on your survey monkey that we were not available to help out in Dallas this week or next. Our plans have changed due to Hurricane Erma so we are available this week and next, after all.
    Please call us! 972-978-5141
    Thank you!
    Susan Nordick

  7. Why did the Red Cross in Texas, pick through donations, and take what they wanted, and throw the rest in dumpster s. And take the donated cases of water and sell it for 1.25 a bottle? People want to donate , and you are stopping the donation s from getting to the people. It is wrong of you to take, what is suppose to go to the people. I will never donate money to you. A small amount goes to the people. Where does the rest go?
    People need to get the word out to not donate to your organization!!

  8. I have been trying to get through to the Red Cross Disaster Emergency Assistance for over 1week and when I call the 1800 number they don’t do anything to help You. I need the emergency assistance.