"It was obvious even before Katrina made landfall in Mississippi that this storm was going to inflict a monumental blow to the Gulf Coast," said Joe Becker, senior vice president, preparedness and response for the American Red Cross.
"This is the largest response to a single natural disaster in the 125 years of the American Red Cross, and there's no doubt it will set many records in terms of the length and expanse of the operation. This will test our skills and our resources to the extreme, but the American Red Cross will be just as strong as the will of the American people, and we all know that's a will that won't fail," Becker said.
Here are some statistics from the American Red Cross related to Hurricane Katrina:
Evacuees – More than 135,500 evacuees are being sheltered by the American Red Cross.
Shelters – More than 470 Red Cross shelters are open in 12 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee and Utah, with many more on standby. The Red Cross also is coordinating, along with other agencies, the mass sheltering operation at the Houston Astrodome, and is working with local partners to find additional facilities in which thousands of evacuees will find a safe, clean and comfortable environment.
Emergency Vehicles – 249 Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) are now in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, with additional ERVs en route to the affected area. The Red Cross is working to engage additional vehicles for food distribution to survivors.
Relief Workers – Thousands of Red Cross staff and volunteers across the country and from every part of the organization are working around the clock to serve the public need. More than 5,000 Red Crossers have left their families to serve in affected areas already, and the Red Cross is moving more than 600 additional workers into affected areas every day.
Feeding – The Red Cross is working closely with several partners, including the Southern Baptist Convention, the Adventists and Second Harvest to provide emergency food to survivors and responders. In coordination with the Southern Baptists, preparations are underway to serve nearly 500,000 hot meals each day.
More than 2.6 million meals and more than 3.3 million snacks have been served to survivors of Hurricane Katrina to-date.
Health & Preventative Care – The Red Cross is working with government and health services partners to develop health strategies and preventative measures to help the public and relief workers cope with the serious public health emergency.
Funding – The Red Cross estimates that, as of Sept. 4, it has received $352 million in gifts and pledges for the hurricane relief effort.
To donate, call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish).