Many families travel this time of year to the Gulf and now, some of those on vacation maybe in danger of a storm headed their way.
Tropical Storm Ida is expected to rapidly strengthen before it makes landfall Sunday along the Gulf Coast as a powerful hurricane bringing as much as 20 inches of rain, a dangerous storm surge and considerable flooding. The American Red Cross is preparing shelters and urges people in the storm’s path to listen to local officials and follow evacuation orders.
Ida’s path towards the Gulf Coast brings stark reminders of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the same region 16 years ago this weekend. Hurricane and storm surge watches for Ida have already been issued from Louisiana to Mississippi and Alabama. The storm surge in some areas could reach as high as 11 feet.
Those in the storm’s path should monitor local weather conditions and finalize their storm preparation steps now.
RED CROSS RESPONSE Alongside Red Cross partners, the Red Cross is ready to shelter and support thousands of families from Texas to the Florida panhandle as Ida approaches the Gulf Coast. In addition to our pre-positioned shelter and relief supplies, the Red Cross is readying more supplies, food and volunteers to help people in need. Truckloads of additional cots, blankets and comfort kits, along with some 68,000 ready-to-eat meals, are on the way to the Gulf Coast right now.
Dozens of volunteers are moving into areas under threat from Ida to be ready to provide support.
In coordination with local officials, the Red Cross is prepared to open hurricane evacuation shelters if requested. We help anyone in need after a disaster, and everyone is welcome in our shelters.
The Red Cross has also pre-positioned blood products ahead of the storm and stocked many of our hospitals in the areas potentially impacted to help ensure patients have continued access to lifesaving blood transfusions.
Make sure to include your pets as part of your emergency plan. The Red Cross is unable to welcome pets into our shelters for everyone’s safety. If you are evacuating with pets, please consider visiting RedRover.org to view their resource list of pet-friendly evacuation shelters and tips.
FINDING A SHELTER In coordination with local officials, the Red Cross is prepared to open hurricane evacuation shelters if requested. It’s important to remember that responding to disasters is a team effort and no single organization can do it alone — this is particularly true in this current environment.
You can find information for open Red Cross shelters on redcross.org, 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or the free Red Cross Emergency app. Download the app by searching “American Red Cross” in your app store or by going to redcross.org/apps. You can also check with local officials and monitor local news for information on where to find emergency shelter.
To help keep everybody safe, everyone in Red Cross emergency shelters is required to wear face coverings. We encourage people who plan to stay in a Red Cross shelter to bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. Don’t forget to bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique needs.
Red Cross shelters are open to everyone in need, regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or citizenship status. All disaster assistance is free. We don’t require people to show any kind of identification to enter a shelter — just their name and where they were living before the disaster.
COVID-19 has not changed the Red Cross mission. We are helping families in the same way we always have — and ensuring people have a safe place to stay during disasters is a critical part of that support.
How we support sheltering efforts may be different in each community, depending on local emergency plans and the scale of the disaster. We plan to open group shelters for people evacuating in the face of tropical storms and have appropriate precautions in place to help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-1.
YOU CAN HELP people affected by disasters like storms and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift is a commitment to helping people in need, and every single donation matters.
Financial donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. For those interested in helping people specifically affected by this most recent, we ask that they write “Hurricane Ida” in the memo line of a check and mail it with a completed donation form to the address on the form or to their local Red Cross chapter.
Be prepared to evacuate quickly and leave the area if local officials tell you to do so. Plan your evacuation route in advance with alternatives in case main roads are closed. Know where you and your pets can stay if you need to evacuate. Anyone in need of a safe place can find open Red Cross shelters by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency app.