Cape Cod Red Cross Volunteers Assisting with Harvey Relief in Texas

Volunteer rescue boats make their way into a flooded subdivision to rescue stranded residents as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Spring, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HYANNIS – Five local Red Cross volunteers from Cape Cod are already in Texas helping with disaster relief from Hurricane Harvey.

The major storm which made landfall Friday has already dumped more than 2 feet of rain in the Houston area and the National Hurricane Center says life-threatening flooding will continue in Southeastern Texas.

Harvey is drifting “erratically” back toward the Gulf Coast after having moved inland since making landfall.

The center says it may slowly intensify as it moves closer to the coast.

Harvey is forecast to turn back toward the northeast at some point Tuesday.

An additional 25 inches of rainfall is forecast through Friday and the center says other threats include tornadoes and a coastal storm surge of 1 to 3 feet.

Hilary Greene, the executive director of the Cape, Islands and Southeastern Massachusetts chapter of the Red Cross says the volunteers are working at shelters throughout Texas.

“We also have one of our local volunteers from Chatham, who works in disaster services technology, working in the computer operations which, obviously, is vital to keeping communications open,” Greene said.

“And we have somebody else working on disaster assessment with local agencies trying to assess the damage and working on the planning and info of the response.”

Fred Meade, a retired pastor from North Falmouth Congregational Church, is providing spiritual care.

“Just think about the trauma that these people go through and sometimes they just need an ear to talk to,” Greene said.

“It might not be a severe mental health problem, but they just really need to get a sense that whatever spiritual needs they have we can help supply that for them.”

Greene said a sixth volunteer is getting ready to deploy.

Volunteers sign up through the Red Cross’s online system Volunteer Connection. The national Red Cross sends out a call for help to the regional level which then heads to the local level. Volunteers then provide their availability.

“They serve for a minimum of two weeks,” Greene said. “They get on a plane within 24 to 48 hours, head down there and serve for two weeks, sometimes longer.”

The Red Cross expects the relief effort to last many months or even years.

“For Hurricane Sandy, our response lasted quite a long time,” Greene said.

Greene said there is a lot of pressure to staff the relief effort.

“It’s also a financial issue because every time we deploy a volunteer it obviously costs money so we are constantly looking for ways to fund the response,” she said.

Money is the quickest, most effective contribution most people can make during times of disaster. And donating directly through a website gets money to a charity faster than a text donation, even though the text might seem easier.

Donations for the relief effort can be made at


Material from the Associated Press was used in this article.

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