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American Red Cross
News Release
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: Massive Emergency Sheltering Effort Underway
At least 32,000 Evacuees in 230 Red Cross, Partner Shelters Tuesday Night

HoustonThe American Red Cross is working hard to get help to where it is needed as Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic devastation is being called the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history.  Access into many areas is still quite difficult, but with the help and partnership of the U. S. Coast Guard and the Texas National Guard, supplies and volunteers are moving to where they are needed most.

The Red Cross is 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 get help to people as quickly as possible.


  • Overnight, emergency responders continued to bring rescued families to shelters, while more evacuees streamed in on their own. Estimates indicate at least 32,000 people sought refuge in more than 230 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas Tuesday night. Emergency shelters are also open in Louisiana.
  • More than 1,500 disaster workers are on the ground, and hundreds more are on the way. They are being joined by a group of highly-skilled volunteers from the Mexican Red Cross who will help support shelters, distribute aid and connect with Spanish speaking disaster survivors to keep them informed about support available to them.
  • With the help of partners, the Red Cross has served more than 180,000 meals and snacks have since the storm began. 
  • There are enough shelter supplies, such as cots and blankets, for more than 50,000 people in Texas. Trailers of kitchen supplies are on the ground to support 6 kitchens, each able to produce 10,000 meals a day, and 6 more trailers are on the way. There are also about 116,000 ready-to-eat meals currently on the ground with an additional 39,000 en route.
  • More than half of the Red Cross emergency response fleet – 200 emergency response vehicles – have been activated for the operation.
  • With blood products prepositioned in Houston and Dallas ahead of the storm, the Red Cross continues to work closely with local, state and federal authorities to deliver blood and platelets to hospital partners in flood affected areas.
  • More than 16 million hurricane and flood alerts have been issued through Red Cross mobile apps, surpassing the 6 million issued for Superstorm Sandy. The alerts provide shelter locations and real-time information.  


Additional Shelter Information

You can find shelters by visiting, downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to Shelters are standing by in other states, including Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas, in case they are needed. 

You can also check with your local officials on where to find a shelter, download the FEMA app or text SHELTER and your zip code to 4FEMA (43362). Monitoring your local media may also help.


Finding Loved Ones

  • The Red Cross Emergency App features an “I’m Safe” button that allows users to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm’s way.
  • The Emergency App is free and can be found in the app store for your mobile device by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to
  • The Red Cross also offers the Safe and Well website which is a secure and more private option than the “I’m Safe” feature on the Emergency App. Safe and Well allows people to list their own status and allows friends and family to search for messages from their loved ones.
  • Safe and Well is often used by institutions to register large numbers of people. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, schools, workplaces and others frequently use Safe and Well to notify people. If you are looking for a person from one of these settings, Safe and Well might be a good option.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross, a United Way agency, shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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