How to help those impacted by Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Fiona
Hurricane Fiona dealt a vicious blow to Puerto Rico, and Ian struck Florida as one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. Here's how you can help the people impacted by the storms.
In the wake of Hurricane Fiona and Ian, thousands of people are still picking up the pieces of what remains. Here are several organizations that are offering services to victims and accepting donations.
The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is providing shelter and meals for Hurricane Ian survivors with more than 1,400 trained disaster workers supporting relief efforts in Florida.
The organization has opened some 39 shelters across the state, which can be found here, and requires people to give only their names and where they lived before the hurricane hit. For those looking to stay at a Red Cross shelter, it's recommended to bring prescription medication, extra clothing, bedding, hygiene supplies, important documents and, if needed, items for children such as diapers, formula and toys. Pets brought to the shelter may have to be housed in a different location, depending on the situation, and for public health reasons, Red Cross shelters require everyone to wear face masks.
Donors looking to support people affected by Hurricane Ian can donate to The American Red Cross here.
The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies is a disability-led organization that focuses on equity for people with disabilities, older adults and people with access and functional needs from disaster preparation to recovery response. The organization hosts a hotline that acts as a hub to connect people with the resources available in their area and has a history of partnering with agencies such as FEMA and charities like The American Red Cross.
Rescuers help evacuate Suzanne Tomlinson, a resident who rode out the storm, as they carry her to a waiting boat in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Pine Island in Florida's Lee County, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. The only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so it can only be reached by boat or air. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
“We fear that the majority of the people that may have passed or were heavily injured by Ian will be people with disabilities or older adults,” Germán Parodi told AccuWeather on Friday as the number of fatalities was just starting to come to light. Parodi and Shaylin Sluzalis are the co-executive directors of The Partnership.
People with disabilities and older adults are two to four times more likely to die or be seriously injured during a disaster than people without disabilities, according to a 2017 study. The study attributed the disproportionate rate of injury and death to poor planning, inadequate accessibility and the misconception that people with disabilities and older adults are more vulnerable because of their diagnoses or age.
The Partnership is also collaborating with MAVI (Movimiento Para El Alcance De Vida Independiente), a disability-led Puerto Rican nonprofit, to support Puerto Ricans impacted by Fiona.
Project HOPE is an organization that works to provide care for evacuees and supports local health care systems through recovery. Since Ian's landfall in Florida, the organization's emergency response teams have been traveling to shelters and health clinics in impacted areas to distribute supplies and assess health needs, with a focus on older adults, people with disabilities and people with pre-existing conditions.
Convoy of Hope
Consisting of a team of roughly 20 people and local volunteers, the Missouri-based disaster relief organization Convoy of Hope delivered over 10,000 bags of groceries as it provides disaster recovery services in southwest Florida. Ahead of the storm, Convoy of Hope packed two semis full of groceries to deliver to people impacted by Ian, the charity's national spokesperson Ethan Forhetz told AccuWeather National Reporter Emmy Victor. Along with food, the Convoy will be distributing cleaning supplies and baby supplies, Forhetz added.
The charity often works alongside local churches, which provide volunteers and offer a connection to the impacted communities. As of Monday, the Convoy was offering its services in Fort Myers, Florida.
People stand on the destroyed bridge to Pine Island as they view the damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Matlacha, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. The only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so it can only be reached by boat or air. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World Central Kitchen
The World Central Kitchen is providing fresh meals to communities in southwest Florida that were impacted by Hurricane Ian and communities from Puerto Rico to Canada that were impacted by Hurricane Fiona. Founded by celebrity chef José Andrés in 2010 after a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, the organization employs local chefs and volunteers to cook hot meals for people impacted by natural disasters.
World Central Kitchen has served millions of meals, including in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017 and in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
The United Way of Florida Disaster Recovery Fund is currently directing donations toward responding to relief following Hurricane Ian. Any donations intended for a specific location or county can be noted on the donation page. There's also the option to donate directly to the Hurricane Ian Relief Fund of local branches.
A Florida Strong logo is seen on the scoreboard in honor of those affected by Hurricane Ian during an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)
The Virginia-based disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization Mercy Chefs is serving meals and water in Fort Myers, Florida, following Hurricane Ian. Sunday, Oct. 2, the organization served nearly 22,000 meals, and it served another 19,000 Monday.
“The devastation here in Fort Myers and nearby in Sanibel Island is widespread, and the need of the residents is immeasurable,” Gary LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Mercy Chefs, said in a press release. “Our hearts are broken for the sadness and pain everyone here is experiencing. It’s unlike anything we have seen before. Just as we have before with long deployments in Florida, we are committed to doing everything we can to help this community, and we will stay here as long as we are needed.”
GoFundMe has a list of verified GoFundMe fundraisers related to Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Fiona, consisting mainly of individual families looking for help rebuilding and recovering. The fundraising platform also has a centralized fundraiser associated with each hurricane that will distribute donations directly to verified GoFundMe fundraisers and nonprofits providing aid related to the hurricane. The centralized fundraiser for Hurricane Ian victims can be found here and the fundraiser for Hurricane Fiona victims can be found here.
The community-based, women-led nonprofit Taller Salud helped to rebuild communities following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, and now they have launched a Hurricane Relief Fund following Hurricane Fiona. The fund has provided essential goods and clean water to over 10,000 families across the island, according to the organization. Donations can be made here, and the organization is also accepting items such as toiletries, non-perishable foods, water filters, diapers and solar lanterns.
FILE - Playa Salinas was flooded after the passing of Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico, on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Alejandro Granadillo, File)
Big Dog Ranch Rescue
Big Dog Ranch Rescue is helping pets displaced by Hurricane Ian and pet owners in need of supplies. The shelter will be providing items from pet food to crates for pet-friendly hurricane shelters and animal rescues on Florida’s Gulf coast. Big Dog Ranch Rescue is accepting donations of linens, tarps, generators and gas cans, or monetary donations can be made here.
Cajun Navy Ground Force
The Cajun Navy Ground Force was helping to distribute supplies in Fort Myers, providing food and water until local grocery stores are able to open. The organization’s Founder and Director Rob Gaudet told Brandon Clement that they have been able to provide more than $265,000 of supplies to families each day following Ian’s destruction of the area. “Natural disasters bring a lot of turmoil to people’s lives. It destabilizes people,” he said. “And our objective is to bring stability to communities for an extended period of time and assist them.”
The Florida Disaster Fund
The Florida Disaster Fund is the state's private fund for responding to emergencies and natural disasters. Donations will be distributed to service organizations that are responding to the impacted communities, and all administrative and credit card fees have been waived for donations going toward the Hurricane Ian recovery response.
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