Volunteers from across Maryland are heading southwest to assist tens of thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Harvey.
The American Red Cross of the Greater Chesapeake Region said Sunday that it’s sent nearly 100 volunteers to Texas, including its regional disaster officer, Chris Young. Also on their way from the regional Red Cross branch are four emergency response vehicles to hand out meals and provide medical care. The group plans to keep sending volunteers over the next several weeks, according to a WBAL interview with CEO Scott Salemme.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Friday as the biggest tropical storm system to hit U.S. soil in 13 years. It’s since displaced more than 30,000 people in Texas and ravaged major metro areas, including Houston and Corpus Christi, per the San Diego Union-Tribune. Houtson, already suffering from disastrous flooding, is now threatened with more by a reservoir that’s set to overflow as more rain falls.
BuzzFeed reports the federal government expects more than 450,000 people to register as disaster victims in the coming days. By comparison, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina displaced 400,000 people.
That means high demand for aid from everywhere around the country. The hundreds of volunteers who the Chesapeake region’s Red Cross chapter expects to send are among 4,000 the national nonprofit hopes to have on the ground in Texas by tomorrow.
Local agencies are pitching in, too. Baltimore County sent four fire department personnel, two of them firefighters who are part of a federal task force of specially trained first responders. They left for Fort Worth by bus on Sunday. The other two are paramedics with the Maryland 1-Disaster Medical Assistance Team. They flew down to Dallas on Friday.
“We don’t know what role our personnel will be asked to play in Texas,” said Baltimore County Fire Chief Kyrle W. Preis III in a statement. “We do know that they are committed and willing to do whatever they’re asked to do.”
Locals are also banding together at the community level to pitch in. Left-leaning activist group Solidarity Maryland is preparing to run supplies down to East Texas, and is accepting donations and money for the haul. The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore has also set up a relief fund, as reported by Jmore. The Salvation Army of Central Maryland also sent down a team of volunteers today to help flood victims.
If you’d like to volunteer and journey down, you can reach out to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. The National Voluntary Organizations in Disaster also keeps a running list of groups that are sending humans to help.
And if you want to instead donate money to assist displaced hurricane victims, you can text “HARVEY to 90999” to donate $10 to the Red Cross, or text “CCUSADISASTER” to 71777 to donate an amount of your choice to Catholic Charities USA. The Archdiocese of Baltimore will also be collecting money from worshippers at Mass on Sunday.
Separately, Maryland is bracing for some tropical weather this week, with Tropical Storm Irma making its way up the East Coast. A gale warning remains in effect for Chesapeake Bay communities through tonight, according to the National Weather Service. As of now, the threat seems minimal compared to what’s happening in Texas.
This story has been updated with additional organizations that are pitching in. If you’d like us to include yours, send the details in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.