Hurricane Henri: Update from Mario Bruno, CEO

Thank you for your tremendous support of the Red Cross mission. It takes so many Red Crossers, donors and partners to deliver our lifesaving mission. Today, we bring you a special local update with the top five on our response to Hurricane Henri.

A Special Message From our CEO

1) Red Cross Response

Working with our partners, more than 160 Red Cross employees and volunteers opened 14 emergency shelters in Connecticut and Rhode Island to provide safe refuge for more than 50 local residents impacted by the storm. Neighboring Red Cross regions throughout the Northeast from New Jersey to Maine also stood ready with an additional 11 open shelters and several on standby. As of Monday, in the Northeast, the Red Cross served about 3,300 nourishing meals and snacks with partners.

A team of Red Cross volunteers helping at a shelter in New Haven, Connecticut.
Red Cross volunteers stand ready to help individuals and families in need following Hurricane Henri.

Hurricane Henri inundated parts of New Jersey, including the borough of Helmetta, shown below.

2) Tremendous Mobilization Effort

In the past 72 hours, more than 160 Red Cross employees and volunteers came together in a massive mobilization effort to prepare for Hurricane Henri. As the storm’s anticipated landfall shifted – so did this tremendous preparedness effort. Here is a quick snapshot of the timeline along with an image of the Red Cross shelters we prepared.

Friday, August 20: Preparedness efforts were focused on Rhode Island where the anticipated landfall was determined. To best utilize resources, Connecticut & Rhode Island merged our response with Massachusetts and both Red Cross regions worked together in executing our preparedness and action plans.

Saturday, August 21 (AM): As the storm’s trajectory shifted to Fairfield County, Long Island and then Southeastern Connecticut, we quickly mobilized resources, like shelter supplies and volunteers, and prepared for anticipated power outages that could remain for up to three weeks and impact more than 50% of the region.

Saturday, August 21 (PM): The storm’s trajectory shifted again – now to Rhode Island and the Southeastern Connecticut coastline, where we increased resources to prepare for sheltering efforts. Shelters were opened to provide a safe place for individuals and families ahead of the storm. Many shelters also on standby.

Sunday, August 22: Storm made landfall, bringing flooding and power outages across the region. Red Cross shelters open in Long Island, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The New Jersey region scaled up operations and is opening shelters in anticipation of additional flooding from Hurricane Henri. Staff en route to New York were diverted to New Jersey to provide additional support.

Monday, August 23: Storm sweeps back through Connecticut and Rhode Island bringing additional rain. Red Cross working with local partners to address community needs.

3) Next Steps

This week, Red Cross workers in Connecticut and Rhode Island will begin the disaster recovery process and will be visiting impacted communities to assess damage and provide support – including assistance for individuals who have suffered severe damage to their home. All Red Cross services are completely free of charge – thanks to the generosity of donors like you!

4) Download the Red Cross Emergency App

The FREE Emergency app lets you monitor for more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts in your town, and other cities that matter to you. Learn how to prepare your family and home, check if loved ones are safe and let them know you’re safe. Select English or Spanish language with an in-app toggle. Text “GETEMERGENCY” to 90999, or download from the App store or Google Play.

See what our friends are saying about the app!

“Sometimes I wonder if I will ever use these emergency kits. Then a hurricane threatens us. And I am glad I have them. One for each family member ready to go. Easy to make or buy one from #americanredcross or check this link with all the information you need,” shared Alice on social media.

5) Make an Impact!

The cost and resources required to prepare for a multistate disaster operation like Hurricane Henri are very high. Help people affected by disasters like storms and countless other crises by making a financial gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, donating blood or volunteering with our team. 

Your support enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Thank you for your continued support of the American Red Cross!

Together in mission,

Mario Bruno

CEO, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region

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