The American Red Cross has launched a wide-ranging relief effort to provide safe shelter, food and comfort to people affected by Irma. We are responding and providing support, alongside a large team of partners.
In Florida, people are still dealing with river flooding, power outages for millions of households, fuel shortages and crowded highways as people try to go back home. In some counties, evacuations and curfews remain in effect, along with boil water advisories. In the Florida Keys, access remains limited and officials estimate that 25 percent of the homes are destroyed and 90 percent damaged.
In Puerto Rico, preliminary reports indicate more than 800 homes received major damage with some still inaccessible. More than a million people are without power. The Red Cross continues to provide assistance to clients with casework, distribution of emergency supplies, disaster mental health, health services, mass care and other services.
The Red Cross has been on the ground in the U.S. Virgin Islands providing food, safe shelter and comfort to people impacted by Hurricane Irma. Local community volunteers and staff have been working around the clock to provide food, shelter and comfort across the U.S. Virgin Islands, including St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John. Many of those responding were affected by Irma and are staying in Red Cross shelters as they continue their commitment to providing relief to their community. Recovery efforts are underway as more volunteers are being sent to relieve those who have been responding so they can go back to their homes and begin repairs. The Red Cross has plans to deliver relief supplies so people can begin to pick up the pieces to rebuild their lives on the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released emergency funds to ensure a rapid Red Cross response to international Caribbean islands including Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The American Red Cross has committed $100,000 to assist in meeting the immediate needs of those affected by Hurricane Irma.
Red Cross Response
There is a massive Red Cross relief effort underway across multiple states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Overnight, nearly 22,000 people were provided refuge from Hurricane Irma in nearly 200 government and Red Cross evacuation centers across 6 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes:
- In Florida, more than 19,000 people in 138 evacuation centers.
- In Georgia, more than 1,470 people in 18 evacuation centers.
- In Alabama, about 1,100 people in 14 evacuation centers.
- In South Carolina, about 3 people remain in evacuation centers.
- On the U.S. Virgin Islands, 181 people in 5 evacuation centers.
- In Puerto Rico, 184 people in 4 evacuation centers.
- In Tennessee, 103 people in 7 evacuation centers.
- In North Carolina, 30 people in 5 evacuation centers.
- To date, evacuation centers have provided more than half a million (507,000) overnight stays to people needing a safe place to go.
- Served more than 154,000 meals and snacks to date.
- Mental health and health services professionals have provided more than 10,500contacts to provide support and care to those affected.
- About 2,900 Red Cross workers are responding to Irma now, with almost 450 more volunteers on the way.
- More than 100 emergency response vehicles have been activated to help.
- More than 66 million hurricane and flood alerts have been issued through Red Cross mobile apps for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The apps provide shelter locations and real-time information so people can help protect themselves and their loved-ones.
Help Ensure a Sufficient Blood Supply in the Southeast
We encourage eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by Hurricane Irma to give blood or platelets to help ensure an adequate blood supply. The storm has forced the cancellation of nearly 100 American Red Cross blood drives in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, resulting in more than 2,700 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Platelet and type O blood donations are especially needed right now. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Red Cross depends on generous volunteer blood donors to provide lifesaving blood for those in need – each and every day – not only during times of disaster.
People in areas affected by Irma need to heed the advice of local officials and not attempt to return home until officials say it is safe to do so. Listen to local media or NOAA radio for the latest updates.
If evacuated, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so. Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
During and after large, devastating disasters such as Hurricane Irma, connectivity can be a challenge. If you’ve put a request in with American Red Cross, State Department or the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, please continue to virtually reach out to your friends and family to let them know you are safe.
The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available and open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English. To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative who has a serious, pre-existing health or mental health condition, please call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
How to Help
Irma has caused widespread devastation and people are depending on the Red Cross now. Help people affected by Hurricane Irma by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word IRMA to 90999 to make a $10 donation.