Emergency response crews from New England are heading down to Texas, as rains and flooding continue to devastate coastal parts of the state.
According to the American Red Cross, one resident from New Bedford and three from Rhode Island are already deployed in Texas where the organization has more than 20 shelters open.
Speaking through a spokesman, Gov. Gina Raimondo is encouraging those who can to donate blood and money to the Red Cross to aid relief efforts.
Meanwhile, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin advised caution when donating to other organizations seeking funding for storm relief.
“In times of natural disasters, it’s only natural to want to help those affected, but it’s important to remember to only donate to established charities that are mobilized and best able to help those in need,” Kilmartin said in a statement.
Other than the Red Cross, Kilmartion suggests donating to The Salvation Army and Catholic Charities USA.
Meanwhile Stamford, Connecticut based relief organization Americares has deployed a response team to support its network of health centers and clinics in Texas. Americares is providing medical supplies and clean water to those displaced by catastrophic flooding around Houston.
Garrett Ingoglia is in charge of emergency response at the non-profit. He said one challenge for response teams is how people are cut off from assistance.
“It’s going to be days before some of the people who are isolated can get care,” Ingoglia said. “People who need chronic care medications for example, or people who are traumatized by the event - they need help.”
Ingoglia said it’s difficult to navigate the city safely as responders want to avoid becoming victims of the storm.
According to Ingoglia, the scale of the disaster means it could take people years to get back on their feet.
“This is in the news right now, but the flood waters will recede,” Ingoglia said. “For thousands of families in that area, that’s just really the beginning of their recovery process.”
Ingoglia said he hopes people remain engaged throughout what will be a long recovery effort.
Harvey has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, but flooding is expected to worsen in coming days as intense rainfall continues.
The Connecticut report comes from the New England News Collaborative, eight public media companies coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.