American Red Cross Helps Disaster-Struck Areas

The nonprofit is sending teams to help people in Alaska, Puerto Rico and Texas.

September 20, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The American Red Cross is helping those impacted by disastrous weather, including those in Alaska, Puerto Rico and Texas, and will continue to be there to help them through the coming days, the nonprofit group says.

Alaska—Typhoon Merbok
The American Red Cross is responding in western Alaska where Typhoon Merbok struck over the weekend, causing flooding powerful enough to uproot buildings and forcing residents to seek shelter.

The Red Cross and partners remain committed to supporting communities as the full scope of this event comes to light. Red Cross disaster workers from out of state arrived in Anchorage last week with more on their way to support this operation. The nonprofit has identified communities across the western coast of Alaska that need assistance and are working with community leaders to provide help where it is needed most.

Red Cross teams are working to make sure there will be a safe place to stay, food to eat and emotional support for those affected. In Alaska, shelters are run by the government and community groups, and the Red Cross is preparing to support them if needed. As with every disaster, the Red Cross recognizes that that responding is a team effort and no single organization can do it alone, and it will coordinate with officials and emergency management to help those affected.

Puerto Rico—Hurricane Fiona
The American Red Cross has disaster teams standing by in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to help people impacted by Hurricane Fiona which has caused disastrous flooding, landslides and left the entire island of Puerto Rico without power.

In Puerto Rico, the government opens and manages emergency shelters. Reports indicate more than 120 shelters are open, many in schools powered by solar micro-grid power systems installed with a Red Cross contribution of nearly $1.5 million after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017.

Trained Red Cross disaster workers will help with damage assessment when it is safe and are working with officials to determine what additional help is needed.

Prior to Hurricane Fiona making landfall, the Red Cross prepositioned blood products to support hospitals in Puerto Rico. On Monday, the Red Cross sent additional units of platelets to support patients there. Platelets have a short shelf life of only five days. The Red Cross urges those in non-impacted areas to give blood and platelets by visiting It’s important to remember that responding to disasters is a team effort and no single organization can do it alone. The Red Cross will coordinate with officials and emergency management to help those affected. 

Texas Gulf Coast Region—Home Fires
Since September 1, the Texas Gulf Coast Red Cross teams have responded to support 62 families, assisting more than 190 individuals with their recovery process and urgent needs such as food, lodging and recovery assistance after experiencing a home fire. In the past week (since September 12), Red Cross teams have worked with 25 families who have experienced home fires and helped 75 individuals.

Craig Fugate, former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Obama Administration, headlined a NACS webinar on how to plan and prepare for emergencies and how to use the NACS Convenience Store Emergency Planning and Job Aids. The resource is designed to help convenience retailers quickly and efficiently determine the best course of action for their teams to plan for an emergency and resume operations quickly and safely.

For more emergency planning resources, NACS Magazine articles and Convenience Matters podcast episodes, check out NACS’ Disaster and Emergency Preparedness topics page.

NACS partners with the American Red Cross through its Response Relief signature program: 24/7 Day. This July 24 (24/7 Day), the NACS Foundation united convenience stores across America in recognizing first responders, medical personnel and American Red Cross volunteers who work around the clock, 24/7, serving our communities to ensure people don’t face emergencies alone.

Convenience stores are often the only retailers who remain open during a crisis, serving both first responders and communities in need. The annual event helps raise awareness and donations for the urgent humanitarian needs of the American Red Cross and spotlights our industry’s important role in supporting local heroes and the communities we serve.

Learn more about how you can join NACS’ mission to amplify the good work done every day in local communities where we live and work by taking part in next year’s 24/7 Day.