United States

Emergency alert

We have deployed to North Carolina to assess the damage from Hurricane Florence and determine the biggest needs of the hardest-hit communities. We anticipate providing emergency cash aid to families so they can purchase what they need most.

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The context

UPDATE: Responding to Hurricane Florence

We are distributing solar lanterns in several communities in the eastern areas of North Carolina hardest hit by Florence last week, with an emphasis on reaching vulnerable families.

We've distributed 50 solar lanterns in Lumberton, 50 in New Bern, 150 in Havelock, 50 in Wilmington and 200 in Jacksonville, N.C. Many of the towns are still threatened by floodwaters from nearby rivers yet to crest, and many are considered actively at risk of continued flooding.

In Lumberton, some 200 people were taking shelter at the local high school. It has already lost power twice, and many people are there because they still do not have power at home. The lanterns are in public areas to allow people to recharge their phones.

"The rains have may have stopped, but the floodwaters upstream have to go somewhere," says Jill Morehead, Mercy Corps’ Emergency Response Team Leader. "All that water that fell in central North Carolina over last weekend is now flowing downstream into South Carolina and towards the east and the Atlantic. People are still in danger of losing power and suffering property damage."

According to news reports, at least 45 people have died. The aftermath of the storm in North Carolina has left thousands of dead fish washed up along highways, imperiled coal ash storage and caused hog waste to spill out of lagoons.

Following natural disasters, we often collaborate with other organizations and local governments to meet the immediate needs of those most affected and lay the groundwork for lasting transformation. For Hurricane Florence, we are working with Team Rubicon to help those affected. Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to deploy emergency response teams rapidly.

In addition to solar-powered lanterns, we anticipate distributing prepaid debit cards to residents of the hardest hit areas so they can buy food and other needed items as they return home.

We are committed to empowering people around the world to survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. Recognized as a leader in delivering rapid, lifesaving aid to hard-hit communities, we have responded to almost every global emergency in the past 20 years, including the Nepal earthquakes (2015), Philippines typhoon (2013), the Japan earthquake and tsunami (2011), Horn of Africa drought and hunger crisis (2010) and Kashmir earthquake (2005). We were also one of the first responders to the Indian Ocean tsunami (2004) and Haiti earthquake (2010).

Our U.S. efforts

We're proud to call Portland, Oregon home of our global headquarters, and we also have offices in Washington, D.C. and Cambridge, MA. We partner with our team members around the world to help people survive crises, overcome adversity and transform their lives. Learn more about our global work ▸

Though much of Mercy Corps’ work takes places internationally, we’re also committed to achieving our mission close to home. Our local projects focus on fostering strong, productive and informed communities right here in the Pacific Northwest.

And our global emergency response team stands at the ready to respond to disasters across the U.S. in times of extreme need, such as after Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Our work

While most of our work focuses on international responses, we do respond to domestic disasters in moments of extreme crisis. Given the monumental scale of destruction and the overwhelming needs, Mercy Corps has been working hard to support relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

We also supported several organizations that helped communities in Texas recover from Hurricane Harvey. We primarily focused on helping organizations that have a deep history in the Houston area working with vulnerable, at-risk and under-served populations.

Our U.S. programs include: