A letter from Josh Jackson, Regional Disaster Program Officer
Last month, Central Texas witnessed a devastating flood that impacted more than 1,000 homes. What followed was both heart-wrenching and inspiring. In the wake of the destruction, our community came together to present a unified response that has led the affected neighborhoods down the path to recovery.
The American Red Cross of Central Texas Disaster Services team’s purpose is to ensure that Central Texas is prepared for, responds to, and recovers from disasters of all types. I am amazed by the dedicated Red Cross volunteers and staff, generous donors, outstanding partners, and the Central Texas community that we’ve worked with during this response.
On Thursday October 31 st, Central Texas was inundated with rains for the record books. The Red Cross Mass Care Action Team quickly sprang into action by opening shelters for families and individuals in need of refuge. When the needs of the community exceeded the local Red Cross capacity to respond, committed disaster responders traveled from across the region, state, and country to assist in the response and recovery efforts. The Red Cross provided over 500 overnight stays at shelters, served more than 100,000 meals and snacks, and handed out approximately 14,000 relief items such as clean up kits, air mattresses, and comfort kits.
Partnering with the City of Austin, the Red Cross quickly organized and opened the Flood Assistance Center (FAC). At the FAC, families and individuals were able to meet with a variety of city and state agencies, voluntary organizations providing disaster relief, and Red Cross caseworkers, health service teams, and mental health teams. Almost 600 families went through the casework process; more than 1,200 contacts were made by Red Cross Health Services professionals and more than 1600 contacts with made with Disaster Mental Health workers. Generous donations from individuals and corporate partners allowed the Red Cross to provide rental assistance for those families whose homes were destroyed or sustained major damage.
Moving forward, the Red Cross will stay engaged in the community; however, recovery will be neither quick nor simple. The Red Cross, local government, our partner non-profits and the entire community must continue to work together to meet the ongoing needs of the families and individuals affected by these floods.
Reflecting back on the disaster response and now looking forward towards recovery, I am proud of the entire team who made this disaster response possible and I truly appreciate the dedication and support of our volunteers, staff, donors and community partners. Each of you has played an essential role in this process. While those affected begin to rebuild their lives, we thank you for your commitment to helping our family, friends and neighbors affected by disaster in Central Texas! Together we can and will build a more resilient community.
Regional Disaster Program Officer
American Red Cross of Central Texas