One year after Tzu Chi Houston was founded, our volunteers mobilized their first disaster relief mission to rush and offer aid and moral support in the Miami area of Florida, where Hurricane Andrew had left a trail of pain and destruction.
Hurricane Andrew was deemed the most destructive in U.S. history at the time it made landfall on the coast of Florida on August 24, 1992. This deadly Category 5 hurricane – the most severe on the scale – razed homes down to their foundations and uprooted hundred-year-old trees, obliterating possessions and years of history in the blink of an eye. Our volunteers offered disaster aid and attentive emotional support, helping families cope with the shock of having their entire lives turned upside down.
Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, and unleashed severe and extensive flooding that claimed 1,836 lives, mainly in Louisiana. Our volunteers travelled to reach the worst-hit areas and bring relief, distributed cash cards and checks to 3,838 households. Less than three weeks later, Hurricane Rita caused even more destruction in the region. We distributed $5 million in disaster aid after these storms, personally helping set families on the path towards recovery, and offering much-needed moral support.
In 2016, Baton Rouge, Louisiana endured a 1-in-500-year rainfall event that dropped 7.1 trillion gallons of water on the area, creating severe floods. As humanitarian aid and charity organizations were adversely impacted by the event, creating a vacuum for disaster relief in the area, we were grateful that we could fill the void and launched a disaster relief mission in Baton Rouge. Our Louisiana flood relief mission provided $836,200 in aid to 1,673 families, benefitting 5,553 people and helping restore hope.