Hurricane Harvey: Malteser International assists relief efforts in emergency shelters
Malteser International is working with aid organizations in the United States of America to coordinate relief efforts for residents of the Houston area in Texas. Tropical storm Hurricane Harvey has been officially downgraded, but the storm has made a second landfall in Louisiana. “However millions of people continue to be threatened by the unprecedented flooding.” said Ingo Radtke, Malteser International’s General Secretary who has been constantly in touch with the American associations of the Order of Malta. “People are still being rescued from their homes. A Malteser International emergency team is providing support for people in temporary shelters”. There are currently about 230 Rescue Centers in Texas. The largest of these is the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston in which up to 10,000 evacuees are currently living.
“Until the floodwaters recede, it is difficult to state the exact number of people in need of urgent assistance. Cleaning up the city will take months, and rebuilding will take years”, said Radtke. Many survivors do not have access to any means of communication, and families have been separated not knowing how their relatives are faring or where they are. Survivors can reach out to loved ones in designated communications centers that offer telephone and mobile services.
“Rehabilitation measures will begin after the emergency relief phase. Only a small fraction of people who have lost all their possessions have flood insurance. From our experiences after the 2013 flooding in Germany, we understand the kind of suffering that comes with such disasters, and how long it would take before survivors fully recover”, said Radtke.
About Malteser International:
Malteser International is the humanitarian relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta. With over 100 projects annually in some 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, Malteser International has been standing by those affected by poverty, disease, conflict and disaster, helping them lead a healthy life with dignity – without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles build the foundation of its work. For more information: www.malteser-international.org and www.orderofmalta.int
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