Hurricane Season ’08: It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

First of all, just a shout-out to Robin. She isn’t even at work today and she blogged (TWICE!!) whereas I did nothing. How awesome is she?

Truthfully, I wasn’t really doing nothing. I was just busy with lots of meetings and calls and the like. But now that the day is winding down, I thought I’d share some of the info I picked up with you.

First, I listened in on a national conference call about Hurricane Season 2008. The bottom line is that just because the public perception is that we “dodged a bullet” with Gustav, it doesn’t mean that the American Red Cross packs up and goes home. Instead, we keep providing shelter and food after what was the largest evacuation in U.S. history.

And we’re already gearing up for Hurricanes Ike and Josephine, the former of which is said to make Gustav look like small potatoes.

Of course, being able to provide things like a hot meal, a soft pillow or even a mop and gloves to those who have lost everything doesn’t come cheap. Already, the Red Cross has spent anywhere from $40-70 million on Gustav, a huge strain on a National Disaster Relief Fund that was already depleted from floods and tornados in other parts of the country. And with Hurricane Season 2008 just getting started, it’s definitely not over yet.

Here’s the most interesting thing I heard on the call:

For the most part, the bulk of dollars raised are collected during the first few days following a disaster. For example, after the California wildfires, 60% of the funds raised came in the first week. After the China earthquake, 20% came in the first days. And after Hurricane Gustav? A paltry 3% of the money needed has come in. And it’s been a week.

That’s sad, folks.

Before the next hurricanes hit, consider making a donation to the National Disaster Relief Fund. You can do it right here. And check out the Hurricane Gustav Online Newsroom to see just how busy the Red Cross still is, helping people along the Gulf Coast as they begin the long path towards rebuilding their lives.