(Washington, D.C., Aug. 26, 2011) As Americans on the East Coast brace for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, Islamic Relief USA staff and volunteers in the Washington, D.C., area are preparing for a potential emergency response to what is expected to be a powerful and damaging storm system.
As of Aug. 26, the National Weather Service reports the hurricane could hit the entire East Coast of the United States, affecting millions of Americans. Just days before, as the hurricane brewed, Islamic Relief USA emergency volunteers were undergoing disaster assistance training by certified staffers from the American Red Cross at Islamic Relief USA offices in Alexandria, Va. While Islamic Relief USA has provided humanitarian relief around the world since 1993, the nonprofit launched a new Disaster Assistance Response Team in May of this year through collaborative relationships with the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and FEMA.
Islamic Relief USA’s emergency aid workers have provided emergency assistance in the United States in the past, most recently this spring in Alabama after tornadoes leveled neighborhoods, killing hundreds of residents and leaving thousands homeless across seven states. Dozens of Islamic Relief USA volunteers and staff members quickly mobilized, traveling to Alabama to partner with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross to assess damage, assist at shelters, and collect and distribute food, clothing, cleaning supplies hygiene kits and other necessities.
In another major response effort, in 2005, Islamic Relief USA dispatched emergency response teams to areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Islamic Relief USA distributed food, cleaning kits, tents, sleeping bags, toys, clothes and hygiene kits to residents of Biloxi and Jackson, Miss., and Baton Rouge, La. Islamic Relief USA converted a mobile home into a health clinic serving residents of East Biloxi, and teams also worked with two local housing organizations to house victims of Hurricane Katrina and repaired homes in Jackson to provide an adequate housing for evacuees.
“Muslim Americans are interested in helping fellow Americans when disasters strike,” said Adnan Ansari, Vice President of Programs at Islamic Relief USA. “We always receive an overwhelming response from the community in times like these. People want to help in any way, whether by volunteering to provide crisis care, conduct damage assessment or serve the residents in shelters, or through their checkbooks.”
Islamic Relief USA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3)humanitarian organization with eight consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. It aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters around the world and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves.
Visit IRUSA.org/dart for more information about Islamic Relief USA’s Disaster Assistance Response Team.
Visit IRUSA.org/press-releases for more information about Islamic Relief USA’s response to the Alabama tornadoes.
Public Relations Representative