NEWS RELEASE: Operation USA to Aid Recovery Efforts in Florida and Mexico Following Major Disasters
Los Angeles-based non-governmental agency planning to deliver aid following unprecedented Atlantic storm and magnitude 8.1 earthquake
Los Angeles, Calif., September 8, 2017—Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based international relief agency, today announced plans to assess damage and deliver aid to Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and in Mexico in the aftermath of a major earthquake. The agency will deliver both financial and in-kind recovery support as needed to affected communities and will call on community-based partners to facilitate the distribution of aid.
Hurricane Irma—one of the strongest-ever Atlantic storms and longest-lasting Category 5 hurricanes on record—left a path of destruction across the Caribbean this week, causing widespread damage and several deaths in Barbuda and St. Martin as well as in areas of the Lesser Antilles, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. On Friday, the hurricane continued to batter areas of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico and Cuba as a Category 4 storm. Irma is expected to hit Florida by late Saturday. Several communities have been evacuated as officials in the state are bracing for direct impact.
In Mexico, a major earthquake registered as a magnitude 8.1—the strongest to hit the country in a century—struck late Thursday off the country’s southern coast. The tremor triggered a tsunami, and shaking was felt across areas of Mexico and Guatemala. The states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, home to nine million people, were closest to the epicenter and hardest hit. Already vulnerable conditions in those areas where damage is being reported will exacerbate challenges in the quake’s aftermath.
As of Friday, OpUSA had prepared two truckloads of relief supplies—including shelter kits, personal hygiene kits, wound care kits, medical supplies, power generators and power kits, clothing, bed mats and other items—for shipment to Florida. The organization is now calling for in-kind material donations from corporate partners and monetary donations from the public to enable relief and recovery efforts both in Florida and in Mexico.
“It’s heartbreaking to see another storm of this magnitude hit the US as we’re still reeling from Hurricane Harvey, with a major earthquake rocking Mexico at the same time” said Richard Walden, CEO, Operation USA. “We must now triple our commitment to disaster response and mobilize quickly to deliver much-needed aid to Florida and Mexico. As many groups are tied up in Texas, it is crucial that the public and corporate partners get involved by giving as often and as much as possible to support hurricane survivors here at home as well as our neighbors in Mexico. Our capacity to respond everywhere we’re needed will depend on the generosity of our supporters.”
Once the full extent of damage is known, Operation USA will identify community-based partners to facilitate the delivery of aid to children and families demonstrating the greatest need. In both Florida and Mexico, OpUSA will ship material aid to the hardest hit communities and make grants to aid in recovery. In Mexico, OpUSA will call on existing partners—having previously worked in the country following the major 1985 earthquake and devastating floods in 2013—to expedite the delivery of aid.
In Texas, where last week Hurricane Harvey brought unprecedented flooding and widespread damage, Operation USA has delivered a shipment of relief materials and has staff on the ground performing damage evaluations. The agency’s response to all three recent disasters will be ongoing.
HOW TO HELP:
Donations to Operation USA will be allocated directly to relief and recovery efforts.
Donate online at give.opusa.org
, by phone at 1-800-678-7255 or, by check made out to Operation USA, PO BOX 36188, Los Angeles, CA 90036-0188. Donations can also be made via text message: text AID to 50555 to donate $10. Text donations are collected for the benefit of Operation USA by the mGive Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.mGive.org/t.
Corporate donations supporting recovery and rebuilding efforts — bulk quantities of disaster-appropriate supplies, transportation and shipping services, shelter, power generation, water purification and medical supplies — are also being requested.
United Airlines miles can be donated to Operation USA through United Airlines Charity Miles program at united.com
ABOUT OPERATION USA:
Founded in 1979, Operation USA supports health and education programs in order to help children and families at home and abroad recover from disasters. Focusing on under-served and overlooked communities, and working with partners around the world, OpUSA empowers communities to recover, build resiliency and thrive. Learn more at opusa.org.
Richard Walden, President and CEO of Operation USA, is available as an expert source on disaster recovery.