HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By Rachel Wagenman
While 30 local volunteers remain on standby to deploy to the Gulf Coast in order to assist the American Red Cross Isaac relief operation, 13 Hawaii Red Cross volunteers from Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island deployed last night and today to Texas so that they can get to affected areas more quickly once the storm has passed in order to work at emergency shelters.
"The Hawaii volunteers have arrived in Houston and we are standing by and ready to be deployed where help is needed," said Michele Liberty, Maui County Director, one of the local Red Crossers. More Hawaii Red Cross volunteers are expected to be sent to the Gulf Coast over the next few days.
Hurricane Isaac continues to affect communities along the Gulf Coast, and the Red Cross is responding across multiple states. Focused on people's emergency needs, the Red Cross is providing thousands of people with food and a safe, dry place to stay. Last night more than 5,200 people stayed in as many as 80 Red Cross or community shelters in 6 states and many more people are expected to come to the shelters.
Coralie Matayoshi, Chief Executive Officer of the Hawaii State Chapter said, "Having Hawaii volunteers travel to disasters on the mainland will provide them with valuable experience to bring back to our State so that when, not if, the next major disaster strikes Hawaii, we will be better prepared."
The Red Cross has deployed 2,700 trained disaster workers from all over the United States to help in the Gulf region, and are prepared with 311,000 ready-to-eat meals and kitchen support trailers in the area.
Just across the Gulf Coast, 187 Red Cross emergency response vehicles are ready to move into the area when it is safe to serve meals, distribute relief items, and hand out additional supplies like hygiene items, cots, blankets, coolers, shovels, rakes, tarps, gloves, and masks.
Those who have been affected by Hurricane Isaac can let their loved ones know they are safe by downloading the Red Cross Hurricane App. Clicking the "I'm Safe" button posts a message to your social media accounts which lets those that friend or follow those accounts know their loved one is safe. The app also provides important safety information and a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light, and alarm.
Another way to reach out to loved ones is by logging on to the Red Cross Safe and Well website. Register by visiting www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).