Re the June 5 article, “After shelter chaos during Irma, Miami-Dade replacing Red Cross with county workers.” Taken in its entirety, it gives a misleading impression about what the community can expect from the Red Cross for the 2018 hurricane season. As the Board of Directors of the Greater Miami & The Keys Chapter, we want to be clear that the Red Cross stands ready to respond, as it has for more than 100 years.
After Hurricane Irma, more than 7,000 Red Cross staff and volunteers provided 555,300 overnight shelter stays, 1.6 million meals and snacks, more than 62,500 health and mental health contacts, and distributed more than 1.8 million relief items. Additionally, in the face of the largest evacuation order in Miami-Dade history, we staffed and managed 12 evacuation centers, 50 percent more than its initial commitment.
The Red Cross of South Florida has a volunteer workforce of more than 3,000. After a storm, we will work with Miami-Dade Emergency Management to transition evacuation centers to post-storm shelters within 72 hours. These shelters, managed by the American Red Cross, include sleeping arrangements, three meals a day and medical services, often for 30-60 days at a time. We
also will offer mobile and stationary feeding, distribution of emergency relief supplies and, perhaps most importantly, psychological first aid and spiritual care.
We have participated in trilateral conversations with the county and the school board to ensure evacuation center managers are comprehensively trained and will provide dormitory management teams for eight pre-storm centers, the same number as our 2017 commitment.
Join our workforce at redcross.org/volunteer. Together, let’s prepare our community should a storm affect
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us once again.
Board of Directors of the American Red Cross of Greater Miami & the Keys Chapter
Julia Rea Bianchi, chair,
Blue Chip Kids;
Victoria Villalba, vice chair,
Victoria and Associates
J. Everett Wilson, board secretary,
and 25 others