A mere month has passed since Hurricane Gustav made landfall in the United States. For Louisiana and Texas residents, the cleanup has started, but time hasn't lessened the need for food, shelter and emotional support.
Although Ike's aftermath has largely been overshadowed by economic and political news, and many have written off Gustav as a "near miss," both of these storms were a direct hit for the people of the Gulf Coast. The Red Cross has been there every step of the way, providing a staggering number of services to people whose homes were damaged or destroyed; to thousands who stayed in shelters; and to countless numbers that received hot meals when they were left without power.
Shelters remain open in Louisiana and Texas in what will be a lengthy relief operation on the Gulf Coast. To date:
- More than 12 million meals and snacks have been served to those in need.
- There have been more than 384,000 overnight stays in 916 shelters across 17 states.
- Nearly 20,000 Red Cross workers have been on the ground to prepare for landfall and help in the aftermath.
- The Red Cross has distributed more than 100,000 comfort kits, which contain soap, toothpaste and other toiletries.
- The Red Cross has given out more than 100,000 clean-up kits, which include essentials such as disinfectant, mops and buckets.
- More than 80,000 people affected by Gustav and Ike have also turned to the Red Cross for mental and physical health services.
In order to offset this year's record number of disasters --- including widespread tornadoes, flooding in the Midwest, an early wildfire season and, most recently, Dolly, Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike --- the Red Cross has launched the Campaign for Disaster Relief. To date, generous Americans have supported the campaign with more than $30 million donated or pledged toward the ultimate goal of $100 million.