Release: National 9.26.08

Massive Relief Effort Continues Two Weeks after Ike Landfall

WASHINGTON, Friday, September 26, 2008 – Even as the country gets a respite from what has been a very active hurricane season, the American Red Cross is now in the middle of a large and lengthy relief operation on the Gulf Coast. As much as $70 million could be spent on the relief operation for Hurricane Gustav alone, and costs for Ike could easily surpass that amount.

Storms that dissipated months or just weeks ago, most notably Gustav and Ike, have left lasting effects. Although Gustav did not hit New Orleans directly, as was originally feared, it remained a strong storm that did not spare the region. Ike caused even further upheaval in Texas. The focus of the Red Cross is now on providing food, shelter and counseling, and distributing needed items to those affected.

The relief operations for Gustav and Ike have been-and continue to be-a huge undertaking. The Red Cross is providing numerous critical services for those affected by the hurricanes:

  • More than eight million meals and snacks have been served to those in need.
  • There have been more than 370,000 overnight stays in 916 shelters.
  • More than 19,000 Red Cross workers have been on the ground to prepare for landfall and then help in the aftermath.
  • The Red Cross has distributed nearly 100,000 comfort kits, which contain soap, toothpaste and other toiletries.
  • The Red Cross has given out more than 90,000 clean-up kits, which include essentials such as disinfectant, mops and buckets.
  • More than 75,000 people affected by Gustav and Ike have also turned to the Red Cross for mental and physical health services.

In a record year for disasters, the Red Cross continues to provide services to victims even as its Disaster Relief Fund remains largely depleted.

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