September 19, 2017–The death toll from Hurricane Irma has risen to 34. As of this week, many people are still without power and in the Florida keys and across the Caribbean residents are returning home to what are being called “primitive” conditions as homes and businesses have been destroyed, hospitals and clinics shut down, most areas are lacking clean water and proper sewage disposal, and grocery supply chains have been cut off. For the many children impacted by the storm, it is not yet known when life will return to normal after schools have been forced to close. Experts estimate the storm caused over $1 billion in damage, with more than $2 million in insurance claims already filed.
This week, many who were impacted by Irma face new challenges as Hurricane Maria–another catastrophic storm currently registered as a Category 5–follows a very similar path to that of Irma. We urge all residents and vacationers in Maria’s path to take every necessary precaution for personal safety and the security of your home. Pay close attention to weather reports, heed all warnings and orders from local officials, and stay safe.
Operation USA continues to connect with partners on the ground in Florida and the islands to assess opportunities for relief aid and long-term recovery projects. All donations to Hurricane Irma recovery go directly to this cause. Donate at give.opusa.org.
September 11, 2017–Hurricane Irma–which triggered the largest mass evacuation in US history–made landfall as a Category 4 storm in Florida on Saturday, September 9. Extreme winds and heavy rainfall battered the state, causing extensive devastation to the islands and coastal cities, and unprecedented flooding in the Jacksonville area. Millions of people were without power in the state through the weekend. The storm has since weakened to a Category 1, but continues to cause damage as it travels up the coast toward Georgia.
The full extent of damage from Irma is not yet know, but early reports coming from Florida say devastation is widespread. In addition to downed utility poles and trees, many homes suffered structural damage, and many roads have become impassable. Storm surges and flooding have also caused extensive damage in some areas.
Operation USA is continuing to monitor the situation in Florida and Georgia, and is prepared to send aid as opportunities allow. This record-breaking storm came on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, placing an increased burden on aid groups and relief agencies who are now working hard to respond to both storms as needed–many of which, like OpUSA, will rely on public support to be able to help children and families in both areas. All donations at this time make OpUSA’s relief and recovery work possible. Visit give.opusa.org to donate now.
September 7, 2017–Hurricane Irma–now being widely reported as the strongest Atlantic storm in a decade–has caused widespread devastation across the Caribbean. The island of Barbuda has reportedly lost 90% of structures. St. Martin is also reporting extensive damage, with areas of the US Virgin Islands, Antigua and the Lesser Antilles also reeling in the wake of the storm. Thirteen people have been reported dead.
Irma maintained winds of up to 175 mph on Thursday as it swept past Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti and headed for Turks and Caicos and Cuba. Heavy rains are also battering the islands, causing a storm surge that may trigger flooding and mudslides in some areas. The storm is forecast to hit Florida early Sunday morning, and many communities along the southern coast and islands are under mandatory evacuations.
At this time, Operation USA is urging everyone in Irma’s path to be prepared. If advised, evacuate immediately. Take every precaution to secure your home and ensure your personal safety. Pay close attention to weather reports and heed all warnings from local officials, especially if you are vacationing in an unfamiliar area. We are hoping for the continued safety of all our friends in Haiti and other areas that may be impacted.
To help OpUSA’s relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma, visit give.opusa.org.
September 6, 2017– Hurricane Irma, the second strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, made landfall this week in the Lesser Antilles. The storm, still a Category 5, is forecast to hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the coming days with potential to continue on to Florida and the southeastern US.
While Texas is still reeling in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the National Hurricane Service is urging all those in Irma’s path to ready their homes and complete preparation efforts as soon as possible. The storm is life-threatening and will cause catastrophic damage if/when it hits.
Operation USA is monitoring the storm and is prepared to deliver aid once damage is known and opportunities arise. We are currently mobilizing trucks of relief and recovery materials for possible shipment to the area. To donate to ongoing relief efforts in Texas and in areas impacted by Irma, visit give.opusa.org.
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