More than a dozen Red Cross volunteers from our region are mobilizing staff and volunteers to Texas and Louisiana in anticipation of Hurricane Harvey. Some are already there.
“This is a major, major disaster for us… our disasters, internally we talk about it being a level 1 to a level 7 being the highest and right now this is a 6 moving toward a 7,” said Kurt Kroemer, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross based out of Phoenix.
Kroemer arrived in Houston Thursday after getting a call from the national office, looking for people to assist at the command post ahead of Hurricane Harvey.
“There are people that… they don’t know what’s going to happen to their home,” he said. “We provide a lot of just emotional support and then obviously, the feeding, the clothing and that sheltering.”
Kroemer is one of several volunteers from the Valley already on site. Two drove over in an “E.R.V” or emergency response vehicle.
“We probably have over 100 people in the disaster operations center here,” said Kroemer. “People have come in from all over the country.”
And more resources are on the way. So far, they have opened several shelters. The biggest needs are volunteers and financial support.
“We may spend upwards of 5 to 10 million dollars on this,” he said.
That will go toward operations and materials.
“The cots and the blankets, the feeding,” Kroemer said.
They’re preparing for extreme conditions.
“What’s going to happen with this storm… we think it’s going to come into landfall, stall for a little while, go back out into the water and then come back in again and it will regenerate its energy,” said Kroemer. “They’re expecting maybe 30 inches of rain in some areas, so that’s devastating.”
And he says when it’s all over, their help will continue.
“When people are leaving, and running away from something, we’re going in and that’s just who we are and what we do,” he said.
Kroemer says they’ll likely be on the ground for several weeks.
He says volunteers are organizing themselves into several districts along the coast including Dallas, two in the Houston area and the southern part of Texas.
For more information on how you can help, go to http://www.redcross.org/ or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.