HHI Disaster Relief Hub

Update on Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence began as a disturbance near the Southern Cabo Verde Islands on Friday, August 30, 2018 and was named Tropical Storm Florence on September 1st. Fluctuating in intensity, she increased to a Category 4 hurricane on September 10, 2018, threatening the Eastern seaboard of the United States. 

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane on the morning of Friday, September 14 near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. 

The Governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia have made State of Emergency declarations. More than 1,000 National Guard troops have been deployed ahead of the storm to help with preparations and recovery after the storm hits.

At this time, residents that are not being evacuated are being told to prepare for record rainfall, dangerous flooding, and prolonged power outages. The last hurricane of this magnitude hit the area in 1989 — nearly 30 years ago.

Recovery needs will depend on the exact path of impact, speed and intensity upon landfall. However, hurricane force winds and severe rain often lead to extensive flooding, significant power outages and damage to property. 

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative strongly recommends financial donations over in-kind donations.

The American Red Cross is the nation’s premier emergency response organization, bringing shelter, food and comfort to those affected by disaster. However there are other many other relief organizations mobilizing to respond to Hurricane Florence.

To research organizations we recommend visiting disasterphilanthopy.org or charitynavigator.org or see our shortlist below for recommendations.


Short List

The American Red Cross: Donate

Charity Navigator Ranking: 3 stars

The Red Cross is preparing to help as many as 100,000 people in the affected areas and is working with state and local officials to identify and prepare evacuation shelters. More than 700 disaster workers are in route to the regions to help. The Red Cross is also deploying vehicles, equipment and relief supplies and will continue to do so until it is no longer safe to travel.

As the storm passes, the Red Cross is preparing to provide shelter for tens of thousands of people until they can return home or find other places to stay.

Some evacuation shelters may not have cots, food, running water or electricity; they are meant to safely house people for about 72 hours until the storm passes and weather conditions improve. If needed, local government officials may transition evacuation centers into emergency shelters if residents can’t return home after the storm passes. The Red Cross supports pre-landfall evacuation centers and post-landfall emergency shelters with trained workers, shelter supplies and other aid.

Americares: Donate

Charity Navigator ranking: 4 Stars

The Americares emergency response team has deployed to North Carolina. The health-focused relief and development organization is also contacting partner health clinics in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia with offers of assistance. Americares is prepared to deliver emergency medicines and relief supplies, including supplies for displaced families, as well as provide support to damaged health clinics. The mission of Medicares is to ensure that the medically underserved have access to affordable and quality health care.

Direct Relief: Donate

Charity Navigator Ranking: 4 Stars

Direct Relief has offered support to more than 200 healthcare partners in the storm’s projected path to coordinate relief efforts.

American Humane Society: Donate

Charity Navigator Ranking: 4 Stars

With millions in Hurricane Florence's storm path, the American Human Society’s first responders coordinated a last minute evacuation of shelters in South Carolina. With the help of shelter staff and rescue volunteers, they have evacuated animals out of the storm’s deadly and destructive path. Your donation will help the human society provide lifesaving resources to animals in need of rescue, shelter, and urgent care. 

We welcome you to share your knowledge and expertise by recommending additional organizations and relief efforts taking place on the ground. Please email hhi@harvard.edu if you would like to offer suggestions for the bulletin board.