One year after Hurricane Michael, Red Cross continues to help

Published 3:00 pm Friday, October 11, 2019

One year ago, Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms to ever impact the U.S., hit the Florida Panhandle and then cut a path of destruction across South Georgia. The American Red Cross launched a massive relief response to help those devastated by wind and water.

Working with partners, the Red Cross set up shelters and deployed relief supplies, equipment and emergency response vehicles. In addition to providing a safe place to stay and warm meals during and after the storm, Red Cross disaster workers also provided emotional support to people as they faced the trauma of evacuation and returning to their homes.

Thanks to the support of generous donors, the Red Cross provided nearly $4 million in immediate financial assistance—helping families meet some of their most urgent needs – followed by an additional $8.5 million to thousands of households that needed extra help. This allowed residents to prioritize their own needs, from helping with the purchase of a new roof or specialized medical equipment to paying for transportation and lodging costs.

As Part of the Hurricane Michael Response in Georgia, Alone, the Red Cross:

Provided nearly 2,800 overnight shelter stays in Red Cross shelters

Served more than 561,300 meals and snacks

Distributed more than 82,100 relief items, like tarps, rakes, shovels and bleach

Provided over $505,000 in financial assistance to more than 350 damaged or destroyed households in Georgia.

Kanelia Nixon’s Story

On October 10, 2018, when Hurricane Michael plowed through the small South Georgia town of Albany, Kanelia, her three children, Kynnadi, Collen and Caiden, and her mom, Willa Mae Clark, clung to each other on the living-room floor of her brother’s home.  “It was very scary,” said Kanelia. “You could hear the trees crackling and hitting the ground and we weren’t sure if the trees would land on the roof over our heads or not.”

After the storm passed, Kanelia and her children returned home—unsure of what they would find. Thankfully, the house was still standing—but roof damaged forced the family into a hotel. “For about a month, every time we came or left the house, I had to help all the kids up and over all the trees. It was hard,” Kanelia said.

In mid-July, the Nixon family grew by one. Layla, Kanelia’s 2-year old niece, moved from New York to Albany, to live with the Nixon family. Now, with four children to comfort, care for and feed, Kanelia is even more grateful for the assistance she received from the Red Cross. “The help from the Red Cross really made a difference with groceries and hotel bills,” said Kanelia. “We’re still on a waiting list to get our roof fixed-up; but I’m just thankful we are all still alive.”  

One Year Later

As of September 30, 2019, the Red Cross has allocated approximately $35 million for emergency relief and recovery efforts to help people affected by Hurricane Michael. The remaining funds from the $36.7 million raised will be used to help with unmet needs for individuals and families impacted by the storm, as well as to support longer-term community-based recovery services.

The Red Cross continues to provide support for hurricane survivors. Collaborating with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses and faith-based organizations, the Red Cross is helping residents access the critical services and resources they need to rebuild their lives.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.

The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.