For the past few weeks, several of BD’s most trusted non-profit partners have been stretched to their limits, as they are responding to back-to-back, massive disasters in the United States and helping hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been uprooted by wildfires and hurricanes. The devastation wrought by these disasters has been further compounded by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has also caused health and economic concerns for vulnerable populations throughout the United States.
Surveying the devastation
According to recent disaster updates provided to BD by the American Red Cross, Hurricane Sally has wrought significant damage and flooding in several states, and has left more than 540,000 people without power in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi – even as communities impacted by Hurricane Laura are still recovering from that storm, which left 500,000 residents displaced from their homes.
“While Hurricanes Laura and Sally have brought devastation and hardship to millions of people along the Gulf Coast, we mustn’t forget the millions of people who are under an even greater threat in California, Oregon and other western states,” said Steven Spinner, Senior Division Philanthropy Officer, Northeast Division, for the American Red Cross, for the American Red Cross.
Wildfires continue to rage across multiple western states and are spreading to other states, including Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. They have consumed over 5 million acres of land thus far, an amount equivalent to the size of the entire state of New Jersey. People living in those areas, particularly those with asthma and other lung-related ailments, face significant negative impact due to exceedingly low air quality. Roads are closed and many schools have been shut down. Thousands are without power. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes and will not be able to return for weeks, perhaps months.
“The tragic loss of life and destruction to property caused by the ongoing wildfires is unimaginable,” said Spinner. “These blazes continue to take innocent lives and decimate entire towns, essentially wiping them from the map.”
In response to the massive wildfires and in an effort to support those communities negatively impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Sally, BD is donating $160,000 to four of its strategic disaster response partners: the American Red Cross, Direct Relief, Americares and Medical Team International.
How our strategic disaster response partners are serving those impacted
- The American Red Cross has deployed to regions impacted by both hurricanes and the rapidly spreading wildfires more than 5,000 trained disaster workers, who are helping to provide meals, snacks, water, relief supplies, emotional support, health services and in many cases, temporary shelter for hundreds of thousands of individuals and families.
- Americares is sending bottled water, personal protective equipment, critically needed medicines and relief supplies to support families impacted by the hurricanes and wildfires, as well as direct financial support for families and health care centers in affected areas.
- Direct Relief is responding to disasters on multiple fronts. In the Western U.S., Direct Relief is delivering particulate respirators, inhalers, and other essential medical items to wildfire-affected affected communities and evacuee populations. In hurricane-hit regions of the Gulf, Direct Relief is deploying personal protective equipment and requested medications to health providers caring for low-income and medically fragile patients.
- Medical Team International, an Oregon-based emergency response organization, is providing 5,000 hygiene kits to evacuees of the Oregon wildfires who are in temporary shelters. These kits will provide enough hygiene items for one month, including shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, floss, a wash cloth and bandages.
How you can help
To learn how you can support these wildfire or hurricane response efforts or to learn more about these organizations, visit their websites at American Red Cross, Direct Relief, Americares or Medical Team International.
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