Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, 2021. Clocking in as a Category 4 storm with winds of up to 150 mph, it is the second most damaging to make landfall in the state after Katrina in 2005.

Though Ida weakened to a tropical storm as it made its way northeast, it still brought heavy rainfall with it一causing the deaths of 66 people, widespread power outages, and property damage that included countless homes and vehicles.

To make matters worse, 29 confirmed tornados broke out as a direct result of Ida, stretching from Mississippi to Massachusetts. At its worst, winds reached EF-3 speeds (136-165 mph) in New Jersey. With all the destruction left in its wake, Ida is estimated to be the sixth costliest hurricane in American history.

In response to this extreme suffering, Tzu Chi volunteers from the Southern, Mid-Atlantic, Greater Washington DC, and Northeast Regions have brought immediate help.

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With your generosity, Tzu Chi volunteers on the ground can distribute the following necessities:

Aquatabs® Water Purification Tablets

Medical Kit


Multi-Purpose Beds**

The first round of food packages, which aim to feed 5,000 families for up to 4 weeks, include:

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Shredded Corn
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Cooking Oil
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* Warm and durable fleece blankets made from recycled PET plastic bottles thanks to DA.AI Technology. Learn more here.

** Jing Si Multi-Purpose Folding Beds may be used as a bed, double-sided bench, recliner, and a storage bin. Their portability and waterproof, plastic construction make them an ideal choice for dwellings prone to flooding. Read more here.

✝ Based on estimated family/household sizes of 4-6 people.

Tzu Chi volunteers in Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Washington have all quickly mobilized to carry out disaster assessment and supplies distribution! You are invited to join their ranks to help the victims of Hurricane Ida!

Here is the latest on Tzu Chi USA’s Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ida relief efforts:

September 2021

September 25

Oakwood Plaza in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and the surrounding residential areas were some of the hardest hit by Hurricane Ida. About 260 homes were declared destroyed or unfit for habitation by the municipal health officials . All residents had to be evacuated. After assessing the aftermath of the disaster and continuous dialogues with the municipal government and the Red Cross, Tzu Chi’s New Jersey Chapter decided to hold its 3rd distribution for victims of Hurricane Ida in the city of Elizabeth.

Many of the survivors of the storm had lost their homes and cars, and had had to stay in a hotel for several weeks already. Whole families were hugely impacted, but somehow, they had to find the courage to go on. When asked “how long will you stay in the hotel?” or “where will you live?” These survivors had only one answer: “I don’t know.” After already suffering the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic for the past year, the storm had taken away their homes, properties, and even the lives of their friends and family overnight. They faced the uncertainty of their future with stunned faces, with no one to blame except for the fickleness of nature that had brought enormous pain and suffering to their lives. What the Tzu Chi volunteers handed over to them on the day of the distribution were not only relief supplies, but emotional comfort and support, as well.

September 22

New Jersey Chapter:
Lambertville, NJ is a tourist town with a rich cultural atmosphere. After the tornado swept through the town, many buildings and houses suffered serious flood damages. Houses had to be vacated and stores temporarily shut down. The town was left abandoned with soil and trash all over its streets and alleys. There was a damp and musty smell everywhere. “I live in my car now, and my mother is emotionally distraught. We have to get out of here…” a disaster victim choked up while telling Tzu Chi volunteers what had befallen her family. Hurricane Ida flooded the first floors of both her and her mother’s apartment buildings. They lost everything in the storms, and now the family would be scattered to different places.

A Red Cross personnel said that Tzu Chi volunteers worked with the city government to send emergency relief supplies to local disaster victims. They hoped that their help would lend these terrified and helpless local residents strength they could lean on to get through this difficult period.

September 18

Northeast Region New York Chapter:
Volunteers conducted the third emergency relief fund and supplies distribution, helping 44 families. As of September 18, Tzu Chi has provided cash cards and supplies to 129 families. Each large household received a cash card of $1,000, while smaller households received a cash card of $600.
The relief effort has concluded, but the mid- to long-term reconstruction will begin. After an assessment, volunteers will provide case-based care for low-income victims who suffered severe losses, and help rebuild their lives in the long-term.

September 13

Tzu Chi Greater Washington DC volunteers host a second distribution at Rockville City Hall in Rockville, MD. They also arrange for temporary shelter for those who’d been flooded from their homes.

After receiving a cash card loaded with $800 dollars in emergency funds, Care Recipient Tyree Jones tears up in gratitude: “I didn’t expect so many people to care about us. This is so significant to those who have just lost all their property! Thank you.”

September 11

Today marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Tzu Chi Northeast volunteers also host another distribution at their office in Flushing, NY. This time, 59 families receive emergency financial aid and care supplies. Sharing their stories with volunteers, many break down in tears recounting the moments their homes flooded.

110 households receive aid from Tzu Chi Mid-Atlantic volunteers at the Bergen Family Center in Englewood, NJ. They also receive DA.AI Technology eco-friendly blankets and face masks.

Liz Corsini, Vice President of the Bergen Family Center, acknowledged the Storm’s impact on residents, as well as those in nursing homes, but also Tzu Chi’s support: “Tzu Chi provided critical assistance to disaster-stricken families who have lost everything. I am very grateful to Tzu Chi, for their willingness to step into the community to help.”

September 8

Back in NY, Tzu Chi Northeast volunteers host an emergency financial aid distribution in Flushing, Queens. Care recipients consist mainly of residents whose first/base floor dwellings were completely flooded out. Recipients also take home DA.AI Technology eco-blankets to keep warm, face masks, and foods provided by Tzu Chi volunteers.

In New Jersey, disaster assessment reports come into the Tzu Chi Mid-Atlantic Regional Office from across the state. Tzu Chi volunteers visit the Bergen Family Center in Englewood, NJ to survey the local distribution venue. The American Red Cross works together with Tzu Chi to provide information on individual cases.

September 5

Tzu Chi Greater Washington DC Region volunteers collaborate with local officials and the American Red Cross National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region to obtain information before surveying the three tornado-affected areas in Annapolis, MD. Upon assessment, uprooted trees, crushed cars, and seriously damaged roofs abound. Tzu Chi volunteers use their smartphones to document the damage to the homes and provide their contact information to homeowners for an upcoming distribution.

In New Jersey, the Tzu Chi Academy of Northern New Jersey learn that the home of an attending 6th grader was flooded in Millburn, NJ. Water reached as high as 4 feet in their basement, knocking out gas and hot water supply for the home. Tzu Chi Mid-Atlantic volunteers arrived on the scene to help the family pack belongings away as the family is currently staying at a hotel. Their plan is to rent short-term housing until their home undergoes the necessary repairs. Tzu Chi volunteers also brought Jing Si Foods for the family to stay nourished, a gift the family happily welcomed.

September 3

The Tzu Chi Northeast Regional Office in Queens, NY sets up the “New York City Tropical Storm Ida Emergency Relief Center” to launch home visits to assess disaster areas. Their goal is to distribute emergency financial aid in the form of cash cards and assist the American Red Cross of Greater New York Region in case investigation and follow-up.

September 2

Flash floods, having wreaked havoc in New York City, inundated first floor and basement apartments in Queens. Tzu Chi Northeast Region volunteers dispatch to hard-hit streets to deliver food and supplies. They also dress for the occasion–wearing gloves and other waterproof gear to help residents clean out debris and sludge from their homes and the streets.

September 1

Ida downgrades to a tropical storm, but brings heavy rainfall. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and other states experience severe flooding, while tornados, generated by Ida, tear through Maryland. Up to 60 people are reported dead.

In Houston, Texas, Tzu Chi Southern volunteers reach out to Greg Doolittle, Senior Disaster Program Manager of the American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast Region. Discussing how they may best partner together, Tzu Chi volunteers agree to donate 200 DA.AI eco-friendly blankets as well as 10,000 face masks. Red Cross personnel arrive to pick 25 large cardboard boxes. Though the materials did not fit in their vehicles, Tzu Chi volunteers use their own cars to transport the remainder of the goods to Red Cross offices in Houston.

August 2021

August 31

Tulane University in New Orleans, LA evacuates 1,600 students from its campus to Houston, TX. At the invitation of the Taipei Economic & Culture Office in Houston, Tzu Chi Southern Region volunteers assemble and delivers 20 first aid kits and 50 care packages, filled with toiletries, towels, and face masks, for students. They bring them, along with cash cards loaded with emergency funds, to the relocation site where students are now staying.

August 29

On the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in Louisiana, Hurricane Ida landed in the state with a force stronger than Katrina, with wind speeds reaching 150 miles per hour, killing 30 and destroying many structures. Utilities, too, are majorly impacted. It is estimated that emergency repairs will take more than a month, while millions of households suffer from power outages and water shortages.


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