Page 1

The W est lndies Hurricane Disaster September:: 1928


Official R eport of R elief f Vork in Porto Rico,



No SE PRESTA FUERA DE LA SALA The American National Red Cross Washington, D. C. ·

(!,¡:;¡¿ ~~J. SS Jc;; 3J ~;!~r HURRICANE OF

SEPTEMBER 12-20, 1928

From a map prepared. by th.e U. S. Wea.ther Bureau, tra.cing the entire course of the storm's center, which, decreased in. violence. in. northe.rn florida,., degenera.tin,g into a severe gale of diminishing in.tensity in its northern. progress. The map.shows the ap· proximate cen.ter of th..e storm, day by day, at 8 A .M. and 8 P.M., indicated by black dots. Figures refe.r to the September date, beginning with. the 12th..

1> 12TH t:J..A.M.

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Part 1-Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands


REGA:LO. '7i0_ Qf.J "'



N THE noon of September 12, 1928 hurricane si?n~ls were raised at Christiansted o~ St. Croix, ¡ V1rg1n Islands. A tropical storm, originating down near Martinique, had been reported by radio to the U. S. Weather Bureau. The people, still ignorant of the plight of Guadeloupe, where 660 lives were later reported lost, believed that the signals were only a warning to 1nariners and that St. Croix was safe, as it then appeared to be. But the Weather Bureau heard sorne hours later that the storm had hauled and was threatening St. Croix. At 10 o'clock that night, a signal gun boomed from the fort, and the people knew that they had twenty minutes in which to take refuge within its thick, ancient walls, or to seek protection in other strong buildings. Mean time, Porto Rico was preparing. Ships either raced to sea to avoid the open roads or hunted safe anchorage. Fishing boats were called in. News of the impending danger was telegraphed and telephoned over the island, and the insular police carried warnings from house to house. On carne the storm, and the 13th of September passed into history in Porto Rico. The cyclone, with its inner circle whirling at a velocity of 150 miles or more, and its center tracing a northwestward course across the Bahamas at the rate of 141/2 miles an hour, struck Florida with its full force on the night of September 16, visiting its greatest fury upon the neighborhood of West Palm Beach. I t soon expended its force after passing through Central Florida, and spread out northward in a general wind storm. The name "hurricane" originated in the West Indies, being the Carib Indian name for a 1nalignant spirit. Columbus on one of his voyages lost heavily in ships and men 5





from a typical storm. Ponce de Leon's first colonizing efforts in Porto Rico nearly carne to ruin from this cause. A long list of h urricanes, each na1ned after the calendar saint on whose day it occurred, appears in the back of Porto R.ican school histories, as dates to be remembered. Y et, of the 450 hurricanes recorded in the West Indies in the last four centuries, relatively few have scourged Porto Rico. During the 25-year period ending with 1928, Weather Bureau statistics show 142 hurricanes in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Although there has been damage by gales in between, the last great catastrophe in Porto Rico prior to the September storm of 1928 was the August storm of 1899, which was equal to the worst in violence. Hurricanes always strike in the summer season. N one have been reported prior to May or later than N ovember, with 80 per cent occurring in August and September. The hurricane of 1899, known from the saints' calendar as the San Ciriaco, occurred in an economically critica! period of Porto Rico's history. Only in the previous year had the change in sovereignty from Spain to the United States taken place, with the disruption of old trade routes and new markets yet to develop. The island was still under military government. In the emergency, the American army of occupation acted with its usual promptness and efficiency in providing food, temporary shelter and medica! care. As a weather service had not yet been widely developed, with its modern aid of the radio, the people were caught unprepared, with the result of a heavy loss of life, dueto drownings. Torrential rains and cloud bursts in the mountains swept away the small bornes built in the narrow valleys near the river banks. The Federal Government, through the army, did everything possible in the way of temporary care. But the economic set-back produced by this storm had not been overcome when the "San Felipe" of 1928 again laid the island waste. Each disaster relief operation of the American Red Cross differs from the others because in no two places do the same climate, types of industry, mental habits and general standards of living prevail. For this reason, a descriptive sketch



of Porto Rico makes clear s01ne of the peculiar problems with which the Red Cross had to deal. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PORTO RICO

Porto Rico is an oblong island, 113 miles long and 41 miles at its greatest width. Its longer axis líes due east and we~t. Except for a rich fiat shore strip, it is wholly mountarn~us. This shore strip is relatively narrow, and at several pornts the mountains break off in cliffs at the shore. The mountain chain runs through the center, longitudinally. On the northern coast, there is a series of limestone hills of peculiar formation, marked by caves and deep "sinks," with such freaks of nature as rivers which disappear in a hill side to reappear at another point. The great central range is topped with a peak of 3,700 feet to the east, while the highest peak to the west exceeds 4,000 feet in altitude. These mountains are under cultivation for the most part. There is relatively little wastage, although marked by deep~ Alpine-like valleys and steep slopes. Owing to the heavy rainfall, the valleys are cut by rivers. Almost wholly an agricultura! country, Porto Rico's only manufacturing industries of importance are the milis for crushing can e and producing raw sugar ( which is shipped to the refineries of the mainland), the cigar and cigarette factories, the grape fruit canneries, and the making of lace and embroidery by the women. Agriculture is specialized. Coconuts are raised in groves along the shore, and are exported as whole nuts and as copra, or dried meat, to the American 1narkets. . The great sugar cane plantations and milis are found · on the fiat shore strip and in the lower valleys. Sugar is the leading industry of the island. Grape fruit orchards are cultivated chiefly among or near the northern limestone hills. Oranges are also grown commercially along with grape fruit, although "wild" or uncultivated oranges are found everywhere in the island. Pineapples are also cultivated in this hilly belt and on the fiats. Tobacco is grown on the eastern m oun tains. The western mountains are covered with coffee plantations. The Porto Rican landscape is always open. There are no





deep forests. What appear to be forests in the mountains are coffee plantations, with the bushes shaded by banana and other small native trees. There is always a broad view of the landscape from the main highways, which are of excellent construction. Seasons are divided into the wet and dry. The wet season corresponds to the northern summer, and the dry to winter, although even in the dry season showers occur with frequency in rnost parts of the island. It is in the dry, or winter season, that labor is fully employed after the summer's idleness. Cane is then cut and crushed, and coffee, grape fruit, orange and pineapple crops are gathered and packed. Tobacco is planted in the fall and matures in winter. The highest temperature ever recorded at San Juan was 94 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lowest 63 degrees. The mean temperature for the warmest month in the year at San Juan averages 81 and the coolest 75 degrees, with an average daily range of 11 degrees. The hottest months of the year correspond to the northern autumn, and the cool season comes with December and ends with the spring, when the island begins to warm up again. Tropical fruits, such as mangos and guavas, ripen with the surnrner. It may be said that practically everything grown on a commercial scale in Porto Rico carne from imported stock. But there are few products of the tropical world that do not thrive in its fertile soil. Sugar cane, coconuts, oranges and le1nons were brought in by the early Spanish colonists. Coffee and other products soon followed. , The annual rainfall is heavy, averaging about 71 inches over the island. This rain is not equally distributed. In the high mountains of the east the average fall is about 135 inches, while along the south coast it is not more than 40 inches at sOine points. These abundant rains are important sources of wealth, as sugar cane requires an immense amount of water. In the drier sections, water from the mountain streams is used for irrigating the cane fields. As recorded on the thermometer, the temperature is ideal, but there is generally an an1ount of moisture in the air,


PonTo RICo


which becomes oppressive when the winds fail, although it is favorable to the rich growth of vegetation. The dependable trade winds dissipate much of this humidity and make the heat endurable even at its highest. The fourth island in size in the West Indies-being exceeded only by Cuba, Jamaica and Santo Domingo-Porto Rico appears a small country to be supporting a population of one million and a half. With an area of only 3,500 square miles, it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Towns and villages are dotted over the island, but the larger communities are all seaports. San Juan, the capital, has since the American occupation taken the lead over Ponce and become the metropolis. The original city of San Juan is small, but with the new and extensive suburb of Santurce, the en tire municipality now contains a population of sorne 96,000, or about twice that of Ponce, the second city. MayagĂźez, Arecibo and Aguadilla are small cities of importance on the coast, with semi-protected bays. Being agricultura!, Porto Rico supports two-thirds of its crowded population on plantations and small farms. Porto Rico is Spanish in language, traditions, habits and custmns. Continental Americans are relatively few in the island. The English language is taught in the public schools and is understood and spoken toa great extent by persons in government service and those who are in touch commercially or socially with the continentals. Many of the children of well-to-do families are educated in American colleges. The Carib Indians, or aborigines, were early absorbed by the Spanish conquerors, although the Indian intermixture is frequently noticeable in the coloring and features of the mountain jĂ­baros, or field laborers. These mountain people are sn1all but sturdy, and excellent workers. Owing to its excellent drainage and the cooling trade winds, Porto Rico is a healthful country. Malaria is endemic in spots, but not in a malignant forro. There is little danger of fevers, except for occasional outbreaks of typhoid. Dysentery, when it occurs, is not of a dangerous form.



Hookworm affiicts many of the peons, but there is a steady campaign to eliminate it. Native snakes, which have been almost exterminated by the mongoose (a species of weasel imported from India to fight the rats), are non-poisonous. And there are no poisonous insects whose bite or sting is fatal to man. Climatic conditions in Porto Rico are altogether favorable to the Caucasian race. People of the well-to-do class, whose growth has not been stunted by insufficient food as has tha.t of the poor, measure up well physically with the people of cool climes. The soldiers of the Porto Rican Regiment are as sturdy a body of men as any in the United States Army. And the large, strong, well set-up force of the Insular Police compels the admiration of visitors. Malnutrition is due rather to poverty than to the type of diet. . The fact that the mass of the population traditionally lives on small pay without cash reserves for emergencies, and that the numerous country dwellers depend normally upon a perennial free supply of bananas and plantains to eke out their scanty ration of rice, dried codfish and red beans, was considered in forming the relief program of the Red Cross. Tradition has fixed a system by which laborers have their bornes upon plantations as permanent retainers, receiving a plot of ground rent free from the owner on which to raise their little gardens of yams, taro and similar vegetables. The workers are thus always available when wanted. During the summer period of idleness, they huy on credit from a neighboring store, repaying their debts when the winter crops npen. ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF THE HURRICANE

The great hurricane of 1928 swept the whole of Porto Rico. Its center described a course from the southeastern end of the island and through the midde part, leaving at the northwestern end. No section escaped, although sorne parts were more exposed to direct violence than others. The least damaged were the small islands of Vieques and Culebra,



which lie to the eastward within sight of the shores of Porto Rico, in whose insular government they rank as municipalities. In Porto Rico proper the damage was estimated as follows by the Central Survey Committee appointed by Governor Horace M. Towner: Sugar: Decreased sugar yields resulting from loss of weigh t and by breakage of cane. Crop loss due to retarded growth and loss of cane representing a money value of about $17,000,000. Sugar mills and buildings stripped of roofs and walls and expensive machinery broken, and raw sugar ruined, at a loss of $3,800,000. Tobacco: Although no tobacco was growing at the time of the storm, seed beds under cloth were totally destroyed and all tobacco barns, numbering 6,326, were scattered by the wind. Leaf tobacco still in storage warehouses was also destroyed. These losses exceeded $11,000,000 and affected sorne 15,500 families. Citrus fruits: Grape fruit and oranges were to a Iarge extent blown off the trees. Five per cent of the trees were destroyed. Trees toppled over were set back in their holes and propped in to place. Crop loss in commercial graves a1nounted to $2,500,000. This does not include the uncultivated or "wild" oranges, which supply fruit to the poor over the island-a loss estimated at $500,000. Coconuts: As it takes from six to eight years for a new tree to come into bearing, the loss of over 227,461 trees (by actual count) represented a capital value of $1,137,305, and a reduction in income of 32 per cent until the replanted trees should begin to bear. The loss was increased by the destruction of over $500,000 worth of nuts. The removal of the fallen trees involved a large expense. Coffee: No industry was left in a worse plight than the coffee, because of the heavy mortgages carried since the hurricane of twenty-nine years previous, and the fact that money had been borrowed on the ripening crop to pay for current labor. This crop, had it been gathered, should have been the heaviest within the American occupation. Coffee grows under shade trees, so that the destruction of shade



was no less a calan1ity than that of the bush. Six years are required for the new trees and bush to replace the broken. The nearly matured crop scattered over the ground, there to rot, involved a loss of $9,500,000 in itself. The rehabilitation of this industry was found by the Red Cross to be necessary to the econ01nic recovery of the island. Bananas and plantains: These fruits grow everywhere on the island and are used as coffee shade to sorne extent, so that the amount of loss was difficult to estimate, except that it was complete. All trees, being ruined, were chopped to the roots just as is done after the fruit bunches are cut. From eight months to a year was needed for a new tree from these roots to come again into bearing. It was estimated that 40,000,000 bunches were destroyed, together with the usefulness of as many grown trees. Being a source of free food and a barrier against starvation in normal times, the social effects of such destruction were severe. Other crops, including cotton and pineapples, were likewise damaged by wind and wash-outs. The cabins of the poor were everywhere datnaged or destroyed. With the winter's prospects of employment reduced to a fraction of the custmnary, with no reserves of cash or credit left for the purchase of food, clothes and shelter, these people became totally dependent upon the available relief funds. In an economic summary for Porto Rico sent to the U. S. Department of Commerce just prior to the stonn, J. R. McKey, resident United States trade commissioner, reported that San Juan importers were at that time loa.ded with the paper of the retailers of the interior, and collections were difficult and slow. However, an improvetnent had been recen tly noted, he said, because of the approaching harvest of a "tretnendous coffee crop of fine quality." The insular a.nd municipal governments, he also said, were ¡ heavily in debt because of public improvements, and the same condition of indebtedness pertained to the sugar "colonos" and to tobacco and coffee farmers. The "colonos" are small planters who raise cane for selling to the milis. Such was the discouraging economic condition prior to




the storm. Planters and merchants, in consequence, were poorly prepared for a major disaster. The financia! condition of the insular government was still1nore depressed when the storm wrecked large numbers of schools and public buildings and damaged the roads for which the bonds were still outstanding. The Department of Education reported that of the total of 4,198 schoolrooms, 2,308 were destroyed or badly damaged. Of the rooms that were destroyed or made unusable, 831 were urban and 1,477 were rural. Consequently, the Insular Government lacked the resources at hand for rehabilitating the island. And the people thcmselves were left prostrate. EMERGENCY AID

On September 13, the N ational Headquarters of the American National Red Cross in Washington knew that Porto Rico was cut off from the world by a hurricane. In anticipation, the officials Ăźnmediately made ready for the worst. On the 14th, the first details were received in press dispatches. That evening, a party of men experienced in disaster relief, who had served in the great Mississippi Valley flood of the previous year, left by train for Charleston, S. C., where on the following day they sailed for Porto Rico on the Navy destroyer Gilmer. The party arrived at San Juan on the 18th, after a rough passage. On the day that the Gilmer sailed, the 15th, the first cablegra1n from the Porto Rico Chapter confirmed the press reports regarding the extent of the destruction and the dangerous plight of the people. The reply to this message was a cablegram to the Chapter, authorizing it to incur expenses in the name of the American Red Cross. At this thne, Chairman John Barton Payne conferred with President Coolidge, who promised the cooperation of all departments of government. Messages were sent to Chapters over the United States to prepare to raise relief funds. The cabled appeal of Governor IIorace M. Towner to the Bureau of Insular Affairs, urging an immediate ship-





ment of rice, beans and codfish, was turned over to the Red Cross on Sunday, the 16th. President Coolidge on the 17th issued a national appeal to the A1nerican people, following a conference between him, his cabinet ministers and high officials of the Red Cross. In this appeal, the President urged the people to "contribute immediately andina most generous 1nanner." The objects of the Red Cross fund were clearly set forth on the 18th by Judge Payne, who said that the money would be allotted to hurricane sufferers in Porto Rico, Florida and the Virgin Islands. The total fund amounted to $5,898,725, including the $50,000 donation made by the Red Cross from its own reserves. Meantime, Porto Rico had been doing for itself to the limit of its resources. Governor Towner had immediately sent out couriers to authorize the road supervisors to hire all ava.ilable men to clean the highways of the debris of the storm so as to make them passable, while sanitary inspectors from the Department of Health opened emergency stations for the care of the ill and injured, and experts from the Departn1ent of Agriculture started out on a cursory survey of crop damage. The people of San Juan were still dazed by the storm when, on the afternoon of the 14th, the Executive Committee of the Porto Rico Chapter met and, under the direction of Mrs. Towner, wife of the Governor, set up seven stations for distributing food and clothing and two emergency hospitals in San Juan and suburbs. On the 17th, Dr. A. Fernós Isern was named chapter relief director, acting in cooperation with Andrés Gandía, acting Chairman of the Chapter. Letters of credit were sent out to local Red Cross committees all over the Island for the purchase of food. A report presented by Dr. Fernós on September 22 shows that up to this time the Committee had given credit letters for buying food to 59 towns in the amount of $29,150, had sent provisions to 41 towns by army and prívate trucks and by sea, and had given clothing to 31 communities. Dr. Fernós personally interviewed, at least once, members of each of




the different local committees or representatives of the 77 municipalities of the Island. The purchase of food and clothing was systematized from the start, and detailed accoun ts were kept. At the time of the hurricane, the War Department had two army -s upply vessels at sea, loaded with food and equipment for the posts of the Canal Zone. These were the St. Mihiel and Kenowis, which were at once diverted by radio to Porto Rico. A Red Cross purchasing officer was sent in the meantime to New York to contract for 1,000 tons of rations, costing $160,000, which were loaded upon the Navy supply ship Bridge, along with 500 tons of tents and blankets from the army stores. The Bridge arrived at San Juan on September 25. All the purchasing facilities of the Army Quartermaster Corps were placed at the disposal of the Red Cross. In view of this assistance, and of the humane objectives, supplies were bought at figures below the current wholesale rates, since the merchants eliminated their own profits. There now joined the Red Cross staff in Porto Rico medical and sanitary experts detached by the Army Medica! Corps and the United States Public Health Service. The army turned over all government supplies to the Red Cross for distribution. The Federal and the Insular Government and civic bodies welcomed the Red Cross as the central administrative office of relief. With the mass of the population in a perilous plight, the work of the emergency period covered the distribution of rations and clothing, the providing of temporary shelter, and widespread medical and nursing aid. Gradually, the relief organization was systematized and strengthened, especially in its local committees. Rationing was steadily reduced as opportunities for employment opened. The first Red Cross relief party found conditions even more critica! than had been represented. Desolation and ruin spread on all sides upon the first inspection tours. The country looked leafless and barren. Debris lay scattered about. Houses stood in wreckage, or unroofed. The



woods exhibited bare and torn limbs. Conditions looked hopeless. But within a few weeks, the trees were opening their buds as if spring had cmne again. And the recovery of man from then on paralleled the recovery of nature. At the call of Governor Towner immediately after the storm, an Insular C01nmittee of Supervision and Relief was formed ata mass meeting in San Juan. Its members were civic leaders of Porto Rico, whose names commanded respect and authority over the Island. They solicited public subscriptions for the Red Cross relief fund among the residents. In return, their expenditures in relief were assumed by the Red Cross. The same distinguished group was invited early in November by the director of field operations to form an American Red Cross Disaster Relief Advisory Committee for Porto Rico. In the capacity of counselors, they helped to guide Red Cross policies during the reconstruction period. The members of this committee were: Chief J ustice E1nilio del Toro Cuebas (chairman) ; J udge Pablo Berga, of the District Court; Colonel George W. Hehns, commanding the United States troops in Porto Rico; Señor Cecilio Morán, president of the Casa de España; and Señor Jorge Bird Arias, Chairman of the Porto Rico Chapter. At all times, the director was free to ask for information and expert opinions from these heads of the Insular Government: the Hon. James R. Beverly, Attorney General; the Hon. Juan G. Gallardo, Treasurer; Dr. P. N. Ortiz, Commissioner of Health; the Hon. Carlos E. Chardón, Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor; the Hon. Guillermo Esteves, Commissioner of the Interior. Besides the grants of the Government, particularly in the diversion of military stores, the cost of relief operations was further reduced through concessions made by public carriers and utilities and by com1nercial finns. The steamship lines between Porto Rico and N ew York, and the insular lines, carried supplies free; and sorne free shipments were also made from New Orleans. In Porto Rico, the Red Cross enjoyed free service in the navy radio station and in the provincial telephone and telegraph systems as well as re-




duced fares for railway hauls, the free use of the Ateneo Puerto~riqueño as headquarters, and many other valuable concess1ons. MEDICAL AND NURSING CARE

In the strictly medical work, the Red Cross acted in a coordinating and advisory capacity, furnishing a medical director assisted by doctors from the federal service. These doctors made extensive investigations throughout the Island early in October, paying special attention to the drinking water. They made disposals of medica! and hospital supplies, recommended the opening and closing of emergency hospitals, and stipervised the inoculation of great masses of refugees. In preparation for expected epidemics, the army dispatched to San Juan two cmnplete field hospitals of 1,000 beds each. Fortunately, these were not needed. So well was the medical work conducted that practically all emergency hospitals were closed in November. The one epidemic not so quickly controlled affected Aguadilla, where typhoid became general. As the Aguadilla situation appeared menacing, the Red Cross built there a substantial wooden hospital of over 90 beds to care for the typhoid patients brought in frmn the hills, while the people generally were being immunized. This hospital, when built and equipped, was turned over to the Insular Health Department. At the close of relief operations, only a few typhoid patients remained. The epidemic had been stamped out. The work of the 83 American and Porto Rican nurses under the Red Cross was accomplished under trying conditions. Hospitals were largely Ílnprovised in schools, clubs, dwellings and tents, ·since the bed capacity of the permanent. municipal hospitals proved to be wholly unequal to the task, even when not da.maged by the storm. All nursing work was conducted under the supervision of the Red Cross nursing director. Patients were brought to the emergency hospitals by members of families or by friends in conveyances of all



kinds, including litters made of a sugar-sack ham1nock suspended on a pole. I t was a common sigh t to see m en with shoulders to the pole ends, bringing sick persons down the 1nountain trails. Insular health inspectors scoured the hills to discover the helpless sick, often found lying in shelters constructed from the wreckage of huts, lacking all medica! care. When they could not be moved, medicines were sent out to them. The total number who had been given medica! aid up to the close of this service in December was 7,801 persons. During the crisis, the Red Cross established fourteen emergency hospitals and gave assistance to fourteen other hospitals. Reports by the Insular Health Department comparing the months of September and October of 1928-the hurricane emergency period-with the same months of the preceding year, show these contrasts: Malaria cases-6,758 in the h urricane period as against 2,551 cases in the same period of 1927; influenza cases-5,379 in 1928 against 136 in 1927; typhoid cases-386 in 1928 against 180 in 1927; tetanus cases-82 in 1928 against 16 in 1927. The combined preventive work of the Red Cross and the Insular Health Department after the hurricane involved the use of 2,802,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin, 113,980 vials of typhoid vaccine, and 4,197,500 units of tetanus¡ vaccine. When the relief unit was withdrawn from Porto Rico in the first week of March, 1929, general health conditions over the island were better than normal, owing to the extensive immunization. CLOTHING

In a climate like Porto Rico's, clothing would seem to be a matter of propriety rather than of comfort. Yet in the higher altitudes, there are times, particularly in 'the. winter months, when somewhat warmer clothing than thin cotton is welcome. At all times, the clothing of the children bears a close relationship to school attendance. After the hurricane, there were children of school age in the



country districts who were nearly nude until outfitted by the Red Cross. . For comfort, blankets are more of a necessity than wearIng apparel. There was at all times a lively demand for blankets from the Red Cross as a protection from the winter's chill, which was felt even on the low coasts. Amorig the emergency supplies received from the continental United States were bales of used clothing, collected by the local chapters. These supplies were insuffi.cient, and not altogether adapted to tropical requirements. Contracts were accordingly let with manufacturing concerns in Porto Rico for new garments. New clothing made up for the Red Cross in insular factories amounted to 39,938 men's garments, 63,124 women's and 163,142 children's, together with 3,276 layettes, making a total of 269,480 units. This was in addition to 1,452 bales of used clothing collected and shipped from the mainland in the early days of the emergency. The amount expended for clothing was $163,921, while the value of the donations was estimated at $49,500. FOOD DISTRIBUTION

Besides suffering from the destruction of fruit and vegetable crops, the poor of the country lost great numbers of chickens, upon which they depended for meat and eggs. The chickens were blown away in the storm, with relatively few escaping. Their fatalities ran into many thousands-one estimate puts it at 289,000. Pigs, which were raised by small farmers, were also killed by fiying debris and fioods. Temporary feeding in the general crisis, and afterward, benefited 129 431 families. As families are large, averaging between flve and six persons e~ch, these rations ~eached over 700,000 individuals. A certa1n amount of feed1ng was prolonged in districts industrially stagnant after the general feeding had ceased. . Up to the official close of relief oper~hons on Fe~ruary 28 1929 the Red Cross had issued rahons amounting to 1,i801524 pounds of dried codfish, 3,787,600 pounds of rice,



and 1,587,850 pounds of beans, together with sorne 1,500,000 pounds of other provisions such as sugar, lard, coffee, salt pork, flour and evaporated milk. These figures do not include the ship1nents of fruits and vegetables by the Dominican Republic, and the direct donations of products made by food packers of the mainland. The statistics, however, include the donations of the Federal Government as well as the Red Cross purchases. SCHOOL KITCHENS

The comedor escolar, or school kitchen and dining room, for the serving of substantial hot meals at noons on school days, is a well established feature of the Insular Department of Education. There are approximately 300 of these lunch rooms in urban and 500 in rural schools, operating throughout the year. Normally, 12,000 children of the poorer families benefit by these meals in the country, and 5,000 in the towns. In the school year ending in J une, 1928, there were 2,443,700 served at a cost of $122,185, funds being furnished by the Insular Government and the municipalities. The hurricane dealt the school lunch room a double blow. By the destruction of school buildings, the Department of Education was forced to make extensive repairs and to seek temporary quarters, which meant the diversion of funds that might have been used for expansion. And the feeding of poor children during the crisis of the hurricane-triple the usual number-exhausted the budget's annual appropriation for the school kitchens. To enable the school lunch rooms to continue, the Red Cross, in the name of the American Junior Red Cross, ~hich is well organized in the Porto Rico schools, 1nade a donation of $10,000, which was followed by another of $25,000, and one of $1,500 for a special Kings Day dinner in rural schools during the Christmas holidays. These donations amounted to a total of $36,500. The celebration of Kings Day on January 6 is to the children of ¡Porto Rico what Christmas is to the children of English speech. Kings Day, commemorating the bearing



o~ gifts to the infant Jesus by the Magi, is the traditional

g1ft day, accompanied by feasting and celebrations. This acknowledgment of a Porto Rican national custom in the name of the American children was a gracious act greatly ' appreciated by the people. AGRICULTURAL RELIEF That agricultura! relief was the basis of all economic relief was made obvious in the report of the Central Survey Committee. For this survey, the Island was divided into fifteen districts, each in charge of an army officer, while the working force included 4,000 school teachers. Sorne 300,000 questionnaires were filled out, all being tabulated. The resulting statistics indicate that the damage to urban areas, including buildings, personal effects, clothing and merchandise amounted to $4,403,838. Adding the losses in public utilities, such as light and power, telephone, wharves, omnibus companies, and losses incurred in the public works of the municipal and insular governments, such as schools and other public buildings, streets and sewers, the total urban damage carne to $6,242,790. This sum is less than one-tenth of the rural loss. In the rural areas, the dwellings totally destroyed were valued at $4,342,319, according to the tabulations of the survey, with $1,103,451 additional for dwellings damaged. The losses sustained by 1,607 mercantile buildings including their contents, the partial wrecking of 42 sugar milis with the loss of plant buildings, and the loss of 53 fruit packing houses together with the total destruction of 6,326 tobacco barns, brought the approximate building loss in rural areas (exclusive of dwellings) up to $9,046,137. Crop losses including the destruction of trees were placed at $46 460 869. Leaving out the damage falling upon the mercha~ts,' who give credit to th~ laborers durin~ the idle period, the losses of actual cult1vators of the sml exceeded $69,400,000, according to the survey. . Agricultura! damage, therefore, not only ~ffected. d1rectly a million persons, but paralyzed commerce In the 1sland. Regarding farm mortgages, the Fede~al Land Ban~ had





made loans on which $11,617,000 still remained unpaid. Other Porto Rican banks held notes of various kinds to the amount of $22,737,725. These figures do not include loans placed in the banks of continental United States or made with private firms or individuals. Besides, many planters declined to give out information regarding their financia! status. But the debt burden was apparent enough in the island's general depression. Agricultura! relief conducted under the Red Cross was confined to the direct aid of sufferers by providing food and shelter, the distribution of vegetable seeds and the coffee clean-up program. DISTRIBUTION OF VEGETABLE SEEDS

As the relief unit was ending its tasks, a member of the Insular Department of Agriculture, internationally known as a writer and authority on tropical agriculture, said in a published statement: "Never before in the history of Porto Rico have the local markets, along the north coast especially, been so filled with :first-cJass vegetables as during the past two or three months. . Probably from 75 to 85 per cent of the vegetable supply now in evidence in these markets has been produced from Red Cross seeds. No one can estímate the intrinsic value of this large supply of vegetables coming at this opportune time. But one point which should not be Íorgotten is this: Had it not been for the very prompt and bountiful supply of vegetables in the areas devastated by the hurricane, a large percentage of the poorer classes would have suffered not only from a very great quantitative shortage, but also lack of vitamins which would not have been available had the same people subsisted on imported foods, such as beans and rice from the mainland." Although a tropical country, Porto Rico produces an excellent quality of the green vegetables common to the temperate zone. This had previously been proved in the experimental gardens of the Insular Department of Agriculture. N evertheless, the Island had fallen a victim to specialized farming to the neglect of local footl crops and was importirrg fresh veg·etable's from the U nit'eH State~.



_ In view of the total destruction of the plantain and banana tre~s-the "bread of the poor"-and of other fruits, together with the washing away of vegetable gardens in the fioods, the Red Cross foresaw that the distribution of imported food would continue indefinitely unless son1ething were done to provide a substitute. Accordingly, with the advice of the experts of the Department of Agriculture, whose agents took charge of the actual distribution, the Red Cross made up parcels of seed for quick-growing vegetables, such as maize, peas, beans, tomatoes, eggplant, turnips, okra, cowpeas, radishes and lettuce. From a dietary viewpoint, these were a needed addition to the staple dried foods. The seeds were sent out in collections with an inscription in Spanish, explaining that they were donations of the Red Cross and giving directions for planting. The bean seed was selected for :its early producing qualities. The maize was of Porto Rican seed, so it was well acclimatized. Seed was given to 14,562 families under the first general distribution, which was followed by a second distribution to 17,467 farmers under the coffee clean-up plan. Donations of vegetable seed were also made to those rural schools which maintained gardens for supplying food to the school kitchens. Asan object lesson to Porto Rican farmers, showing the importance of raising one's own vegetables instead of neglecting all but commercial crops, there is reason to hope that the seed distribution program will help to meet a permanent as well as a temporary need. DETERMINING EMERGENCIES

Two industries were left prostrate by the storm-the coconut and the co:ffee. However in the opinion of experts of the Department of Agricult~re, the coconut situation, bad. as it. was, did not constitute an emergency. lt could wait untll Federal aid voted by Congress could be applied. Although the fungus from the stumps of fallen trees menaced the standing trees, and the coconut growers lacked fun~s to remo:re the s'tumps, there was nĂł such slrarp urgency as ar<>se In





the coffee section when the time approached in January for the budding of the coffee bush. Unless the land were im1nediately cleared of the rank undergrowth of weeds, grass and vines, this budding bush would be ruined and the prospects destroyed of a small crop the next season. Coffee was therefore considered an emergency. THE COFFEE CLEAN-UP While the mountainous eastern half of Porto Rico is devoted chiefly to tobacco culture, the mountainous western half is covered with coffee plantations, interspersed with gardens. To a stranger motoring over the winding roads of these m ountains, skirting the small, deep valleys and climbing over .steep summits, the plantations would seem to be virgin t:ropical forest. The disorderly and luxuriant undergrowth of tall, slender bush is the coffee; and the thick scattering of broad-leaved bananas and small pod-bearing trees with spreading tops form the shade which keeps the bush from drying up from exposure to the fierce direct rays of the vertical sun. The larger commercial coffee plantations are situated at elevations ranging between 1,500 and 2,500 feet. Porto Rican coffee seems to follow its own course, with none of the regimented order of the modern Brazilian plantations, where co:ffee trees, scientifically pruned, alternate with shade. Porto Rican coffee is of a different variety, growing on a smaller tree than the Brazilian. In fact, it is bush-like, seldom exceeding 10 feet in height. The shade tree is the native guamá and guaba, and the banana and plantain-the ·Iatter bearing fruit as well as furnishing the required shade. The pods of the guamá and guaba also are eaten by the poor. These plantations were producing a magnificent crop, full of promise for the patient growers, when the hurricane of September 13 left behind a tangled mass of broken bush and broken or fallen shade trees. The plantations lying on the exposed slopes and summits were destroyed outright, or nearly destroyed. There was less breakage in the lee of the ravines. But whether exposed to the unrestrained



fury of the wind, or partly sheltered behind ridges the brittle bush was stripped entirely of berries. The crdp, so near to harvest, lay scattered on the ground. The 30-year struggle of the growers to achieve solvency was undone in a single day. Coffee is not a native of the western world. It had its origin in Abyssinia, from which its use extended to Arabia. From the N ear East, it was exported to Europe during the era of voyage and discovery. Coffee ca1ne into the West Indies in 1720. In that year, a hurricane destroyed the cocoa plantations of the French Island of Martinique. The discouraged colonists looked for other crops; and a French sea captain brought sorne young coffee plants frmn the botanical garden in Paris, using a part of the ship's water ratiori'tluring the voyage to keep the plants alive. Three little plants survived, which he planted in his gardens. Beans growing on these bushes were the start of Martinique's coffee plantations. From . Martinique, its cultivation spread to ·Hayti and Santo Domingo. N ot until the seventeen and fifties was the cultivation of coffee urged upon the Porto Ricans. Coffee then began to be raised on a small scale. By 1776, Porto Rico was producing, by weight, nearly twice as much coffee as tobacco and four tin1es as much coffee as sugar. I t later became the chief export crop, which it still was at the· time of the Spanish-American War. The industry had ever received official encouragement fron1 the Spanish government. When Porto Rico changed allegiance coffee went into a decline, while sugar, scientifically develo~ed by large American companies, steadily took the ascendancy as the chief export. The great "San Ciriaco" hurricane of 1899 played such havoc that many growers were unable to recover. Others borrowed money at high interest rates, and staggered under 'this handicap until finally able to make new loans on easy terms through the U. S. Federal L3:nd Bank. Had there been no hurricane in 1928, the 1ndustry would have achieved a sound financia! position, or at least been well on ·the way to achieve it.



Although growing in a somewhat uncultivated state Porto Rican coffee, in the markets of Spain and France, i~ considered the finest fiavored in the world. It receives so high a price from Europe that it is not marketed in the continental United States, where prevailing coffee prices are lower than in Europe. However, the plantations are cultivated to the extent of being kept free from grass and obstructing weeds, while old plants are regularly replaced with seedlings. Thus labor is required normally at other times than during the berry picking and drying season, which is the period of general activity in the coffee regions. The Red Cross could not, with a limited fund, attempt to deal with more than the outstanding emergencies. And it became evident early in the relief work that the coffee situation was the most fundamentally serious because of the]arge number of idle laborers residing on plantations or Ă­n villages in the coffee district. The Red Cross found itself standing between these laborers and starvation. Even the growers, sorne of them with large fincas, were left so destitute that they joined in the.file to receive their Red Cross rations of rice, beans and dried cod:fish. So heavily mortgaged were the coffee growers that they could raise no funds to salvage their coffee land. Meantime, such bush as was left alive was approaching the time of budding. Unless aid were given immediately, the small crop of the next season would be entirely lost, with future misery in prospect for growers and laborers. Moreover, the free supply of food on which the people formerly depended throughout the year-the bananas and plantains and the beans of the leguminous shade treeswas swept away by the storm. Not until summer would this traditional supply begin again to be available. Leaving the general economic relief of the country to the fund voted by the United States Congress, the Red Cross concentrated early in December upon a study of the coffee situation, conferring with experts of the Insular Department of Agriculture, as well as with experienced coffee growers. The first direct Red Cross aid given to the coffee growers




was made in November, with an appropriation of $30,000 for co:ffee seed beds, which, it was calculated, would supply 10,000,000 seedlings, sufficient to replant 15 000 acres more or less. This was followed by a donation 'of 2 000 ~ets of pruning implements to the growers, at a cost of $5,300, so that the growers might have sufficient means for doing their own clearing. But it soon became evident not only that the growers needed more substantial aid but that the laborers in the coffee districts needed work. Idleness and misery had brought about a social crisis. The relief organization then turned toa method of agricultura! aid developed in the United States. When a tornado cut a path of ruin through northern Ohio five years previously, the Red Cross tried an experiment. Farmers lost their growing crops and most of their buildings. Their land was covered with the wreckage of the storm. A band of overseers and laborers was then formed, traveling like a caravan with their own wagons, which went from farm to farn1 gathering up debris and rebuilding and mending fences and sheds. The Red Cross also gave the farmer seed for an emergency crop of vegetables. Th us the storm victim was left with new hope. In the great midwestern tornado of the following year, the caravan plan of aiding farmers passed from the experimental stage into a well-developed Red Cross method. It established its utility, and it was used with marked success later in the great Mississippi flood. A clase study of this situation, in consultation with the scientists of the Department of Agriculture and others, made it evident that the caravan plan, as applied in the United States would not be practicable, and it became necessary to adapt it to use under Porto Rican conditions. The new plan, which was originated, develo~ed, put into effect and discontinued within sixty days, requ1red the creation of new machinery within the relief organization for the employment of vast numbers of the local population. On the day after Christmas, the clean-up program opened with 25 000 men on the payroll, instead of about 10,000 as first ~xpected. At the peak, the payroll carried â&#x20AC;˘



.! 1 "



over 67,000 names. These thousands of employees were paid weekly by check. It meant nine different operations in the accounting department to prepare check from the payrolls, which were rushed in by the area directors. Clerical work alone required an extra force of eight auditors and 25 extra typists at the relief headquarters. In all, sorne 200,000 checks were issued, totalling $625,000. The new plan involved the cleaning away of debris, while giving much needed employment to the idle peons. The men living upon a particular farm or residing in its neighborhood were hired to do the local work, with preference for men supporting families, instead of employing smaller groups to travel from point to point as in the typical caravan plan. For the purpose of relief administration, the Red Cross had, in organizing its early work, divided the island into five areas, each in charge of an area director, under the general guidance of the director of relief, who coordinated the work. Government statistics on coffee acreage were consulted, and an estímate made of the amount of coffee land· in each district. Allotments for aid to the growers were distributed on a basis of these statistics, with a reserve fund for adjusting any inequalities that might develop. Each area director appointed a supervisor in charge of each municipality and a foreman for each barrio. A municipality corresponds roughly to an American county, and a barrio to a township. The gangs were composed chiefly of machete men, with sorne ax men for chopping the big trees, and a few climbers for lopping off the broken limbs of shade trees. The owner directed the cleaning of his own Iand, cooperating with the foreman. The laborers, swinging their long, dangerous machetes, cut away debris, grass and weeds. The skill and endura.nce of the Porto Rican in handling this long knife-the traditional tool of all workis acquired from childhood. As the fund allotted for cleaning the land was necessarily Iilnited, the Red Cross, in considering the enormous losses of the coffee owners, adopted the policy of fa.voring the
























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small man with a few acres, who was in a less favorable position for obtaining loans than the larger owner. A valuable feature of the coffee relief plan was the free distribution of vegetable seeds, to produce quick food crops. Through the cooperation of the Department of Agriculture and its helpful agents, garden seed had already been given to farmers in general. The Red Cross in addition now required all coffee owners receiving cleaning aid to agree to plant and cultivate a given amount of seeds and to divide the product equally between themselves and the resident peons. Both alike had the privilege of selling the excess in the local markets, an operation which would increase the Island's general food supply. Among the special problems which the Red Cross had to settle in planning this program were those relating to the cleaning of insured farms, and the protection of employees engaged in the cleaning, who were subject to accidents such as machete cuts, falls and similar injuries. Through the cooperative spirit of the companies holding insurance on coffee lands, a general release was obtained for those owners whose losses had notas yet been surveyed by representatives of the companies, upon condition that such owners would agree to leave the stumps of the dead ¡coffee bush for counting by the adjuster at a later period. Since crop insurance would in general be paid to the financia! interests having mortgages on the land, it was obvious that the growers holding policies under such conditions would receive no direct benefit from payments for losses, and, lacking cash or credit with which to pay for cleaning, were as much in need of rehabilitation aid as those who were not insured. It was also seen that with a force of men in the field ranging from 25,000 to 67,000 at the height of the cleaning,, injuries would inevitably be incurred by the laborers. Under the insular laws, a beneficent society is not subject to the terms of the Workmen's Compensation Act. However, the Red Cross felt morally responsible for the well-being of these men, since the work of cleaning was largely planned with a view to giving the unemployed financia! relief; and it therefore arranged with a casualty company for insur-



ance of all workers under the terms of the compensation law, by which a number of injured men benefited. Should in the future the need unfortunately arise for the services of the American Red Cross in Porto Rico or in sorne other place where somewhat similar economic and social conditions obtain, its relief workers would be able to fall back upon a rich experience for precedents and for methods. This is the particular contribution that the program of the cleaning of coffee lands has made to the technique of the Red Cross service in disaster relief. Other branches of the international Red Cross family, represented throughout the countries of Spanish speech, may also find this experience useful. ¡ When the relief organization sailed away from Porto Rico, it left with the Federal Loan Commission, which is administering the fund voted by Congress, complete and scientifically prepared statistics, lists of workers whose ability was well tested in the :field in the coffee clean-up, lists of the people who had served the Red Cross devotedly and intelligently in the different communities, and general information on economic and social conditions. Thus the Commission was able to save the time and effort that would have been spent in investigating and experimenting in the coffee and other situations. Summary: N umber of coffee farms receiving the benefit of the clean-up, 17,533; number of acres cleaned, 119,795; number of families benefited, 59,238. More than half of the total coffee acreage of the applicants was actually cleaned. The limitation of the fund arbitrarily reduced the extent of the cleaning. Coffee plantations not receiving any Red Cross aid, which were relatively few, either belonged to large owners with adequate financia! backing, or formed parts ~f com~ercial farms on which other crops helped to equahze the coffee losses. REBUILDING

Housing in Porto Rico is a protection against the heavy rains which fall even in the so-called dry season. It bears in consequence a direct relation to health. The epidemic





of mild influenza that followed the hurricane was attributed to physical exposure, as the rains were then unusually heavy. A considerable proportion of the peons in the hills and mountains were living at the time of the storm in huts made of palm thatch, dry and cool but unsubstantial. These huts answer the descriptions left by the early Spanish voyagers of the shelter of the aborigines. The neatness of hut and grounds, and the never-failing flower patch, which impressed the old chroniclers, are characteristic today. In rebuilding, the Red Cross issued only the standard materials of pine boards, roofing of :fluted galvanized iron (known among Porto Ricans as "zinc"), and the necessary nails and hinges. All new houses are substantial and able to resist high winds. The Red Cross took into account the local practice among farmers of giving their workers ground, rent free, on which to build, and of leasing home plots at a nominal rental. Relatively few of the laboring class who were left houseless by the storm, owned their home sites. On the large plantations, notably the sugar, even the houses were supplied rent free. To restore such houses became the company's or planter's responsibility. When the owners failed to do so, they left a social problem on the hands of the community, for the victims had no work as well as no homes. In its rebuilding policy, all that the Red Cross sought to establish was whether the applicant for relief owned the house which was damaged or destroyed, without taking into consideration the ownership of the site. In most cases, the pitiable condition of the applicants quickly proved that they had no funds of their own for rebuilding. But when the people were of a better social class, a careful investigation was made of resources. Under such conditions, strict case work, as it is understood on the Continent, would have been impracticable and very expensive. It was not necessary, as the precarious ¡ economic condition of the peons has been noted from the earliest colonial times. Land ownership and the banking of savings are alike unknown among the masses of laborers,



who .live from day to day on their small wages when work1ng, and on credit when idle, assisted by the free food that normally grows at every side. However written applications for n1aterials were required, giving' a statement of losses and of financia! condition and these state. ments were Investigated and approved ' before materials were dispensed. People who had no bornes of their own before the hurricane and were living in refugee camps, received a tent of strong canvas anda small sum of money so that they might move to sorne spot provided for them. The tent furnished shelter until they could replace it with a hut of their own. In sorne instances, they were given quarters rent free for a limited period, during which they were expected to provide for themselves. The rebuilding policy was in terpreted by the Red Cross as liberally as possible, stretching its terms in order to give the greatest possible an1ount of aid to the sufferers without assuming responsibility for all existing dependency. Social proble1ns survived the storm, which were wholly unrelated to the storm and so were not a proper charge against the restricted relief funds. Yet those conditions affected society as a whole-particularly the unauthorized and unregulated ca1nps, which menaced the health and 1norals of their inmates and accordingly had to be broken up. The Red Cross cooperated with the Insular Health Department in the building of latrines. Each family receiving building materials was compelled to construct a fly-proof toilet under the supervision of an agent of the health department. This requirement aided in the campaign to stamp out the hook worm, which is spread by unsanitary habits and which has been a traditional cause of poverty and m'isery in Porto Rico. The Insular Government, with the cooperation of the Rockefeller Institute, is working patiently and intelligently to eradicate the disease through treatment of the affiicted and the enforcement of sanitary habits. It is chiefly to prevent infection through the feet that the movement to provide shoes for poor children has been fostered in Porto Rico. Rebuilding was conducted by the Red Cross in this form.





The purchasing department in the central offices at San Juan made contracts with local merchants for building materials. Purchases were made locally in order to stimula.te commerce, as a part of the Island's economic rehabilitation. Allotments of materials were made to the directors of the five general relief areas, who placed them in warehouses at points convenient for distribution. These allotments followed a survey of damage, made by the local Red Cross committees assisted by the school teachers, who knew their people well. Recommendations of the teachers were seldom questioned. This earnest body of missionaries of enlightenment rendered invaluable service to the relief organization in all phases of its work. Increased allotments of materials were made to the areas after the work was well in progress · so that the requirements could be more accurately estimated. At all times the Director of Relief kept in close touch with the area-directors, conferring with them in their problems and equalizing the distribution. Upon the purchasing officer of the Red Cross there also devolved the matter of transportation, as well as the letting of contracts for materials. Because of the costly engineering problems involved in mountain road building, the one narrow-gauge railway of Porto Rico follows the flat coast line, circling around the western end from San Juan on the north to Ponce on the south and touching the intermediate ports of Arecibo, Aguadilla and Mayaguez. Important inland towns, as well as seaports on the eastern coast, lack rail communication. The hauling of goods in the interior is ·done by motortrucks, and the transport of passengers by motor-buses. The Red Cross used the railway and coastwise steamers as well as motor-trucks. Porto Rico produces no lumber. Although the prívate houses in the country and largely in the towns are built of wood, this material has always been shipped in from the American mainland. Southern pine has been generally used from an early period. As vessels in the Porto Rican trade which were equipped



to carry lumber were limited in number and as materials on. hand i?- local yar~s :vere largely used by private persons do1ng the1r own rebulld1ng, the Red Cross purchasing officer was forced to make contracts for lumber still at sea or ready to be loaded at Savannah or other lu1nber ports on th~ Gulf or lo'Yer Atlantic coast. Many delays occurred in sh1pments, ow1ng to the scarcity of available carriers. One object of the Red Cross in buying its materials in Porto Rico, wherever they were to be had, was to get them as clase as possible to points of distribution. From the larger towns, the materials were hauled to surrounding villages and to convenient plantations for allotment to individual beneficiaries. Each Red Cross lumber yard was placed under the care of the Local Committee, with a hired manager to keep a record of the materials handled, and watchmen to guard them from theft. In the letting of contracts, competitive bids were called for except when there was no competing merchant in a community. Contracts were let in the latter case on the basis of the price at the nearest point where buying had been made on bids, plus an allowance for hauling costs. Thus the smallest dealers in materials benefited by the Red Cross purchases. Motor trucks for hauling materials were lent by the Army and by the N ational Guard, and were hired from prívate persons. Beneficiaries carted their allotments away from the distributing points by such means as they could obtain, using their own or borrowed ox carts ora borrowed Ford truck even walking for miles over mountain roads and trails ~áth uprights, boards, sheets of zinc or a keg of nails balanced on their heads. Trucks used by the Red Cross ranged in size from three tons up to ten or more. Loading a truck involved checkinO' so that the work required several hours. To prevent lo;~ of time trucks returning to the main yards in the afternoon were Íoaded and sent out at night. As their progress was necessarily slow over the twisting mountain roads, with grave danger of accidents-and severa! Red Cross trucks



went over the embankments in the course of the general relief work-often a truck would not arrive ata mountain town until two or three o'clock in the morning. Then the local Red Cross chairman, a volunteer, would be roused from bed to check the unloading. Occasionally trucks would leave the big Red Cross yards at San Juan in a caravan. In one instance, over 207,000 feet were moved out of San Juan .into the country districts in a single day. Loads of lumber would vary from 2,500 to 10,000 feet, depending upon the capacity of the truck and the condition of the roads. The expenditure of over $1,300,000 in building materials involved the ernployment of labor to check, load, unload and to drive the trucks. At the municipal or barrio yards, a supply rnan and assistant were hired for continuous duty. The 65th U. S. Infantry (Porto Rican regiment) detailed non-commissioned officers to guard the trucks en route. The very able a.nd energetic area supply officers of the Red Cross all held commissions in the U. S. Army, and officers of the Porto Rican N ational Guard also formed a valuable part of the Red Cross general relief organization. Although the rebuilding plan of the Red Cross did not include more than the issuance of materials, labor was furnished in special cases, as when the penniless victims of the storm were ill or infirm or were widows with children. Supervising carpenters were likewise made available for beneficiaries who were able to do their own labor but required skilled direction. In sorne places, religious and fraternal societies employed carpenters to aid the helpless. At Coamo, the Junior Red Cross furnished pupils from a trade school to do the building for the helpless poor, under a supervising carpenter. But ordinarily, people did their own rebuilding, neighbor helping neighbor. The type of wooden house of the laboring class is standard throughout Porto Rico and dates back to early colonial times in its general form. It ordinarily consists of two rooms. The front section serves as the sitting room, where the family and friends gather. Cooking is done over a charcoal brazier in the backroom or in a shed at the rear.



Hammocks are hung in the front room, commonly made of sugar sacks. A small porch at the frontis a common gathering place for visitors. Glass is not used in the windows w?ich are protected against the weather by board shutters: h1nged to the top or sides of the casement, swinging outwards. Severa! municipalities gave plots of ground to storm victims who had previously been more or less a public responsibility, on which the Red Cross built their homes. They were an impoverished and feeble class whose little cabins had been washed away by high water so that they could not safely rebuild on the old site. At Arecibo, a beach settlement was destroyed by the great waves blown up by the hurricane. The city provided a higher and more healthful strip of ground on the coast, and the Red Cross erected a row of 32 cottages in two days with a force of 135 carpenters. A similar group of 42 cottages was erected in Yabucoa on municipal ground. With the aid of the public authorities, the hurricane offered a welcome opportunity for improving conditions in congested districts of towns and for finding more healthful home sites in individual cases. The countryman has a natural fondness for high places exposed to the cooling breezes, but also exposed to the full force of the storms. Cabins dot the mountain sides, and almost every little hummock in the hill country has a home at the top. These exposed positions, with their fine prospects, have, however, the merit of being healthful. In restoring the bornes, the Red Cross restored family life. The approximate total amount of building material purchases for the rebuilding program is given at 18,948,947 feet of lumber, 6,400,591 pounds of zinc roofing, 36,815 pounds of ridge rolls, 39,680 pairs of hinges and 1,035,839 pounds of nails. .. There were in round numbers, 37,000 fam1hes who received materi~ls for repairs or rebuilding. Of these, more than 90 per cent were coun try dwellers. In the coun try, the houses were more exposed to the storm than in the



closely built towns, where one house protected another. Furthermore, the population of the Island is predominantly rural. The country was also left in a worse condition as regards employment. PORTO RICO HONORS RED CROSS

On February 27, as the relief unit. was preparing to sail for home, its members were honored in a way unique in the history of Red Cross relief operations. In acknowledgment of the sympathy and generosity of the American people, given in the time of Porto Rico's greatest need, the upper and lower chambers of the Insular Legislature held a joint session in the handsome new Capitel, at which resolutions of gratitude were read, followed with eloquent addresses. An engrossed copy of these resolutions was presented to the Red Cross in the person of the Director. A feature of this demonstration was the attendance of bodies of school children. Beautiful tributes, written in English, in acknowledgment of the relief given, were read by small girls from two of the delegations. Every civic body in Porto Rico was represented at a popular subscription dinner given that night, over which Governor Towner presided, with a long list of eloquent speakers, limited to four-minute talks. The Red Cross was accepted as the active expression of the sympathy and genuine interest held by the Americans of the continent in their fellow citizens in Porto Rico.

RELIEF IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS The Virgin Islands, acquired by the United States by purchase from Denmark in 1916, are composed of St. Thomas, with an area of 32 square miles and a population of 8,000; S t. Croix, of 74 square miles and a population of 11,000, and the tiny island of St. John of only six square miles. St. John suffered relatively little. St. Thomas was less damaged by wind than by the great seas which washed the beaches. But St. Croix lay in the direct path of the storm, and buildings and trees were badly wrecked. So it was in St. Croix that the Red Cross did nearly all of its reconstruction, furnishing material for repair or rebuilding, and doing the carpentry for the sick or aged or for helpless women with children. The laboring classes, except for a few hundred French in St. Thomas, are of African descent throughout the islands. As all agriculturallands are in the hands of a relatively few owners, laborers dwell in cabins of their own, built on ground for which they pay a small rental. Rehabilitation work in the small and sparsely populated Virgin Islands was simple and direct in comparison with that of Porto Rico with its¡ teeming population and complicated economic problems. Rebuilding was carried out , with careful investigation of the needs in each case. The administration of aid in the Virgin Islands carne under the director of the W est Indies Hurricane Relief, with headquarters in San Juan. In St. Croix the Red Cross fed 852 families during the crisis distributed clothing to 320 families, and gaye building ~aterials to or rebuilt the bornes for 262 families.


Appendices-Part 1




FROM THE MESSAGE OF GOVERNOR HORACE M. TOWNER OF PORTO RICO TO THE TWELFTH LEGISLATURE ' FIRST SESSION, FEBRUARY 11, 1929 vVe owe a debt of gratitude to the American Red Cross which we never can repay for its timely and generous assistance to us in our hour of need. Without its aid, the situation following the storm would have been most discouraging. Then and now its assistance has been of such a helpful a.nd construotive character as to be an important factor both in our relief and rehabilitation work. It would be appropriate for the Legislatura to pass a resolution expressing our gratitude and thanks for this service so generously given and so encouraging and belpful to our people.

* * * CONCURRENT RESOLUTION PASSED BY THE INSULAR LEGISLATURE OF PORTO RICO ON FEBRUARY 14, 1929 (From the proceedings of the 12th Legislature, First Session)

Mr. Gonzalez Mena introduced the following Concurrent Resolution to hold a joint session of both legislativa bodies as an act expressive of the gratitude of the Porto Rican people to the American Red Cross, for the philanthropic aid which it gave our country on account of the socalled San Felipe ¡cyclone: vVHEREAS, on September 13, 1928, our island was scourged by a cyclone, the most terrible in its history, which spread desolation over our fields, sowing everywhere misery and ruin and leaving thousands of Porto Rican families without food or home; Whereas, the noble and generous people of the United States, who responded, as ever, to their lofty traditions, and whose hearts beatas one in response to our misfortunes, immediately brought their inestimable material aid, commissioning the American Red Cross to take charge of the organization and distribution of the assistance which they sent to our country; Whereas the American Red Cross, fulfilling its Christian mission, morally a~d materially did an admirable work of aid and consolation, and its directors personally superintended the philanthropic campaign, in full sympathy with the affiictions of Porto Rico; Whereas thanks to its beneficent intervention and to i¡t s intelligent and ' labor, public spirit recovered its strength and confiden.ce, self-sacrificing many unhappy families were helped, and many bornes reconstructed wlth surprising rapidity; . . Whereas the American Red Cross, by such consp1cuous serv1ces, has merited the' imperishable gratitude of our people,




Now, therefore, Be it resolved by the Senate of Porto Rico, the House óf Representatives concurring: l. That the Senate and the House of Representatives of Porto Rico solemnly hold a joint session in demonstration of the gratitude of the Porto Rioan people to the American Red Cross for the most valuable assista.nce which it lent to our country immediately after the cyclone of September 13, 1928. 2. That this act be held on the twenty-seventh day of the current montb of February, at ten o'clock in the morning, to give an affectionate farewell to the commissioners of the American Red Cross who return to the United States on the twenty-eighth of this month, after fully accomplishing their noble work, leaving a fraternal remembrance in Porto Rican hearts. 3. That the Honorable Governor of Porto Rico, the municipal assemblies and mayors, the departments of the government, and all the institutions and associations of our country be invited to be present, in order that they may express, by spccial act and me55ages of fellowship, or in any manner they deem proper, the sentiment which inspires this resolution, so that the homage of the Porto Rican people to the American Red Cross may be expressed with all the grandeur and solemnity which its character merits. 4. That a copy of this resolution, signed by the President of the Sena te and by the Speaker of the Hous·e, be delivered at the joint session to the commissioners of the American Red Cross who will return to the United States on the twenty-eighth of the current month.

* * *


Expressing the gratitude of the People of San Juan to the American N ational Red Cross and to its Special Representatives in Porto Rico for the great assistance given by it and the brilliant labor performed by thern due to the Hurricane of Septernber 13, 1928; and inviting the 111unicipalities of the 1sland to join in this expression oj gratitude. WHEREAS, due to the hurricane of September 13, 1928, the Island of Porto Rico suffered serious loss to its industrial, agricultura! and urban life, a great part of its population being left destitute and suffering bitter priv·ations through lack of food, clothing, medicines and bornes in which to shelter themselves; Whereas, on becoming aware of our misfort_une, the National Office of the American Red Cross, located in the city of Washington, D. C., immediately hastened to our relief with generous help for the alleviation of the great misery in which, as a result of the cyclone, our fields and towns found themselves, sparing no means in order tha.t such assistance should be the most rapid and effective poosible;



Whereas, in arder to furnish this generous assistance the American Red Cross detailed from its N ational Office a good number of its officials and e~pl?yees to. co~e ~ our islan~ and cooperate with our local organizatwn .m the distr1butt~n ?f suppltoo and in the rendering of assistance of all kinds for the allev1atwn of our needs; whereas their beneficent work being now accomplished, the said officials and empÍoyees intend to return to the United States and to their office in Washington· whereas the inhabitants of Porto Rico, recognizing the work carried out by these gentlemen .representing the American Red Cross, feel a deep and profound grat1tude, not only for the benefits received from institution, but for the form and manner in which these benefits ha ve been distributed by these representatives; Whereas, the inhabitants of Porto Rico do not wish to have these representatives of the American Red Cross, who have fulfilled their mis- sion in such an efficient and gentlemanly manner, leave without expressing to them in sorne way their appreciation not only for the benefits received, but for the manner in which such benefits have been distributed; Whereas, the most genuine representation of a country is that of the municipal organizations, which are in closest touch with the people who elect them; Whereas, the Municipal Assembly of San Juan, Porto Rico, which is the direct representative body of all classes of the population, feels that it faithfully interprets the sentiment of gratitude of our people for the benefits generously and spontaneously received from the American Red Cross in the most pressing and needy moments following the said cyclone, Now, therefore, Be It Resolved by the Nlunicipal Assembly of San Juan, P. R.

1st. To express by this resolution, in the name of the people of San Juan, its most profound gratitude to the Central Office of the American Red Cross, located in the city of Washington, D . C., for the spontaneous, prompt and generous assistance given to the People of Porto Rico in the disaster suffered by it through the cyclone which swept the island on September 13, 1928, a.ssuring it that this gra;titude will endure forever in the hearts of all Porto Ricans. 2nd. To express also, through this resolution, the gratitude which our people also feel towards the officials and employees sent here by the said National Office, for the efficiency and good will with which they have carried out their delicate task, all distinguishing themselves by the uniform courtesy, affable manners and strict justice with w~lich they have conducted themselves in all their dealings and contracts w1th all persons who have come in contact with them during their stay in Porto Rico. 3rd. To invite through this resolution, the other municipalities of the island to join wi~h the Municipal Assembly of San Ju~n in the se~timents of this resolution, by the adoption of proper resolutwns e~pressmg such sentiments of gmtitude to the American Red Cross and ~o Its representatives on this occasion, in behalf of the people of Porto RICo.






tJ '1





1 certify: That the íoregoing resolution is a true and correct copy írom original thereoí, .unanimously adopted by the Municipal · Assembly of San Juan at its regular meeting held on the íourteenth day oí February 1929, at which were present nine members, and approved by the Mayo; on the fiíteenth da.y oí February, 1929. And in order that it may so appear, I issue and sign the present in the city of San Juan, Porto Rico, this fiíteenth day .oí February, 1929. ERNESTO SAN MrLLAN, lVIunicipql Secretary. Approved this 15th day oí February, 1929. R . H. Tono, Mayor.

* * *

FROM THE FINAL REPORT OF THE INSULAR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF SUPERVISION AND RELIEF The Committee has closely watched the development oí the activities of the Red Cross and become more convinced each day of the great belp

our people would receive thereírom. Therefore on September 22, 1928, the Committee adopted the following resolution: W HEREAS, the work of immediate aid, which was one oí the purposes íor which this Insular Executive Committee oí Supervision and Relief \Vtas .created, having been finished by means oí special emissaries who carried to the towns of the island words of encouragement írom said Committee, its counsel, and cash sums amounting in a1l to about $40,000 to be expended íor the relief of first and most urgent needs under direction oí the local emergency committees composed oí the Mayor, the District Chief of Police and the Chairman oí the Red Cross; Whereas, the American Red Cross also took action from the very beginning of the disaster and has already períected its organization throughout the jsland; Whereas, duplication must be avoided, and the relief oí sufferers is in the hands of the most poweríul, noblest and best organized charity association in the world; Thereíore, the Insular Committee resolves to stop its work of immediate relief and to devote all its efforts to the other purposes for wbich it was created. All subscriptions hereafter received or obtained by its sub-comrnittee on finance, which will -continue to work actively, shall pe íorwarded to the American Red Cross.

* * *

RESOLUTION PASSED BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE PORTO RICO CHAPTER, AMERICAN RED CROSS, ON MARCH 4, 1929 WHEREAB, The American National Red Cross has lent valuable services to the people of Porto Rico since the Island became a part of tbe United States of America, and Whereas, these services have always been rendered with the greatest sympathy and generosity, and



Whereas, when the cyclone that swept the Isla~d on the thirteenth day of September, 1928, this noble Institution carne to. our aid promptly and with the greatest liberality, Be It Resolved, That this Executive Committee, interpreting the sentiment of aU its members, as well as of members of Local Committees and of all citizens who either directly or indirectly received the help and benefits of the Institution, hereby express our deep and sincere gratitude to the American National Red Cross as well as to their representatives in the Island during the relief and rehabilitation period. And for transmittal to the Headquarters of the American N ational Red Cross in Washington, D. C., I hereby affix my signature to this resolution in the City of San Juan, Porto Rico, this the fourth day of March of the year nineteen twenty-nine, A. D. (Signed) JoRGE BIRD ARIAS, Chairman.


Letters were received by the Director of Relief for Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands from various officials of municipalities, local committees and civic and trade organizations, such as the letter which follows: OFFICE OF THE



P. R.

February 19, 1929. M. K. Reckord, Director, \Vest Indies Hurricane Relief, San Juan, P . R . Dear Sir: We the people or inhabitants of Aguada individually and collectively take greatest pleasure in acknowledging and sending through you to the generous American Red Cross Society the most cordial and deeply felt thanks for your timely and splendid work, both material and spiritual, given to us, the Porto Ricans, during the greatest and most urgent of our needs, the crisis which carne upon this island after the terrific and awful hurricane of San Felipe. We certainly ¡a re forever indebted to your people for your great help on so needy an occasion. Our unanimous gratitude emerges from the bottom of our grateful hearts, and is humbly e>..'pressed in these short statements. Wherever you and your a.ssociates may go, be absolutely aware of the fact that we, the Porto Ricans, will never forget but always remember your philanthropic feeling toward us in days of misfortune a.nd desperation. "Acts, not words" is your wise motto. We heartily hope and trust in God that your society will in the future be blessed and rewa.rded by your generous a.ction. Very truly yours, (Signed) CARLOS GoNZALEz, Mayor.




p ART I-APPENDIX II FROM THE ANNUAL REPORT OF GOVERNOR WALDO EVANS OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1928-1929 While no outside aid was required for the relief of the people in St. Thomas and St. J ohn, there was urgent need for assistance on the island of St. Croix. An appeal was made to t he American Red Cross, by the Governor, and this appeal was answered by a shipment of lumber and ot her building materials to the value of about fifteen tbousand dollars, which were donated to the poor. The Government purcbased approximately twenty thousand dollars' worth of building m aterials which were sold, at cost. Through the cooperation of the Navy Department, these building materials were transported to the islands on navy vessels, which eliminated freight charges. Funds for the reconstruction of harbor property in St. Tbomas were immediately made available by the St. Thomas Harbor Board. Funds for telephone reconstruction were made available by diverting fund.s previously appropriated for otber projected improvements. Tbe American Red Cross, in addition to its contribution of building material, donated approximately fifteen tbousand dollars in cash for relief work in St. Croix. Seventy-four of tbe little houses that were destroyed were replaced by the Red Cross, with substantial one-room houses. In the W est Indies hurricane relief, the American Red Cross wa.s faced with a gigantic task. The Governor is pleased to record deep apprecia tion of the relief work wbich the Red Cross carried on in St. Croix and profound admiration oĂ­ the promptness with which it carne to the rescue oĂ­ the storm-stricken islanders.







Virgin I slands


l. FOPULATION AFFECI'ED AND FROPERTY LOSSES A. Population Affected. Population of Islands ... ...... . . 1,454,047 Population affected by the storm. 859,160 Families affected by the storm ... 156,211 Per cent of population affected to total population ............ . 59% N o. of persons killed ... ·........ . 275 No. of persons injured ......... . 4,182 B. Property Losses. N o. of buildings destroyed . . . . . . 97,950 N o. of buildings damaged . . . . . . 56,117 N o. of coffee trees destroyed. . . . 65,484,456* Per cen t of coffee treees destroyed to total .. ................•..... 49%* No. of shade trees destroyed . . .. 5,672,174* No. of animals killed .........• 25,603 N o. of poultry killed ......... . 285,599

* Figures submitted by


10,215 2,043 59% 7 50

514 752

340 3,273

1,473,047 869,375 158,254 59% 282 4,232 98,464 56,869 65,484,456* 49%* 5,672,174* 25,943 288,872

Dept. of Agriculture.

JI. ExTENT OF RED Cnoss RELIEF WoRK A. General Aid Extended. 14 Emergency hospitals established Other hospitals through which 14 the Red Cross extended aid .. 7,801 Total persons given medica! aid Persons given complete typhoid 80,000 innoculations ...............• Daily average of school children furnished with hot lunches .... 56,051 Positions filled through Ernploy2,383 ment Bureau ...... ..... .... . 128,513 Families given food . ......... . 65,901 Families given clothing .... . .. . 37,344 Families given building material



14 7,901 80,000


918 348 264

2,383 129,431 66,249 37,608





Families given seed: First distribution Coffee farmers . . ·... .. . . Total families given any kind of aid ....... . .......... . ...... .

Virgin Islands

14,539 17,4.67


14,562 17,467




B . Coffee Program. 218,786 N o. of cuerdas* in coffee . ...... . 119,795 Cuerdas of coffee land cleared .. . 17,533 N o. of coffee farms cleared . . .. . Estimated N o. of seedlings produced as result of seed beds.. . 10,000,000 Families benefited by coffee clean59,238 up program . ...... .. . . ..... . Maximum men employed by Red Cross to do clean-up work •.. 67,000

III. TOTAL Volunteers



218,786 119,795 17,533 10,000,000 59,238 67,000

REn Cnoss WonK




*A cuerda is approximately seven-eighths of an acre.


Part 11-Florida

ADVANCING COURSE OF THE STORM HE. h urri~ane described in the preceding section as hav1ng devastated Porto Rico and adjacent islands on September 13, 1928, continued its relentless northwesterly course toward continental United States its center moving forward at the rate or 141f2 miles per h~ur. On the morning of September 16, it passed slightly north of N assau, Bahama Islands, which experienced a low baronleter reading of 28.08 and a wind velocity of from 110 to 120 i.niles per hour. Considerable damage was done to property and crops, but no loss of life occurred. Offers of assistance from the American Red Cross through the customary State Department channels to the Governor of British West Indies were courteously and gratefully declined. Without deviating, the center of the hurricane reached the coast of Florida near Palm Beach about 6 P. M. of the 16th. The barometer reached a low of 27.43 which was .18 lower than at Miami, Florida, during the great hurricane of September 18, 1926, and it is the lowest pressure ever recorded in the United States during a hurricane. The wind velocity was estimated at from 150 to 160 miles per hour. The section most affected on the immediate coast was from Pompano north to J upiter, which includes the cities of Poropano, Dearfield, Delray, Boynton, Lake W orth, Lantana, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Kelsey City, Riviera and Jupiter. Much destruction and damage was incurred by the less substantial structures along the shore, but comparatively few lives were lost. The appalling loss of life occurred in the section of the Everglades which includes Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay, on the southeast shore of Lake Okeechobee about 40 miles inland from W est Palm Here approximately 1,770 persons were dr?wned by the overfiowing of the shallow lake and the breaking of


the. dikes~ .


.:' .





THE vVEST lNDIES HunRICANE DrsASTER passing Bartow, the storm beg~n curvin~ nort~ward, then northeastward, passing J acksonville, Florida, w1th diminished intensity at 1 A. M. September 18. The storm cen ter was traced as far north as Parrs Sound, Canada, by the U. S. Weather Bureau, but caused little serious damage above the Florida border. PREPAREDNESS MEASURES

It may truly be said that Florida began its preparations for the great 1928 hurricane immediately following the hur.ricane of September 18, 1926. This does not mean that such catastrophes are expected to recur at periodic intervals, but rather that having recently experienced a great cyclonic disturbance, the Red Cross Chapters in the principal areas of Florida determined not to be again caught in a state of semi-preparedness. They had realized that the American National Red Cross is not sorne vaguely defined beneficent agency that cmnes in from the outside to indemnify disaster sufferers, but rather an ever present vital element in community life, which, through its local Chapters, is capable of organizing local resources so asto function effectively in the face of an overwhehning disaster; and that the ultimate value of a huge relief fund is not derived from wholesale expenditures for mass feeding, clothing and shelter, but rather from the individual rehabilitation of families, based on !L thorough study of their needs. These things were realized by severa! Florida Chapters after the hurricane of September 18, 1926, notably by the Palm Beach County Chapter with headquarters at West Palm Beach, and the Dade County Chapter with headquarters at Miami. Consequently, each had its Disaster Preparedness and Relief Committee thoroughly organized and ready to function. The nature of hurricanes was studied, the people of the communities were made hurricane-wise. Analyzing the 1926 hurricane, they learned that such a storm approaches in the form of a huge ring with an outer diameter of possibly 80 miles and an inner diameter of from fifteen to twenty-:five miles. The forward movement of the whirling cyde might attain 15 miles per hour, while



within the rim of the ring the wind velocity might vary from 60 up to 160 miles per hour. The people learned that the lesser wind velocity would occur on the outer rim while the destructive and death dealing velocity would occur as the inner rim approached. Then there would be a period of lull while the center of the ring passed over, followed by winds of extreme velocity in the opposite direction which gradually diminished. The people learned that they must not mistake the lull in the hub of the cycle for the end of the storm · otherwise those who emerged from shelter might become' victims of' the second phase, as happened to so many persons in the 1926 hurricane. All this, and more, they learned and, through judicious publicity, made these facts known generally to their community, especially during the two or three da.ys after news was received that the storm was relentlessly approaching the Florida east coast from the direction of Porto Rico. The Disaster Preparedness and Relief Committee of the Pahn Beach County Chapter was organized by the far-seeing, provident men and women of that County, with ten sub-committees having special functions. In arder that the duties of each might be clearly defined, a chart of organization was drawn up by the Chairman, an engineer, and blue prints distributed to those interested. Thus equipped, they faced the 1928 period of greatest hazard and awaited the actual approach of the W est Indies hurricane not without concern, but with that confidence ' . . which comes from the knowledge that an organ1zat1on existed with which to attack the cortsequent social problems. At 11 o'clock Sunday morning, September 16, 1928, a meeting of all ten sub-committees was called in West Palm Beach. Between 90 and 100 persons were present, ready to carry out their definite assignments. Any gaps in the organization due to illness or absence were filled, and the whole machine geared and oiled for its task of relief. Problems of water, food, medica! supplies, shelter, clothing and transportation were considered. Plans were ¡p.ade for an emergency hbspitalization center, for canteen centt;)rs, for



the transportation of refugees, supplies and similar neces~ sities. At 2:00P.M., the wind having now risen to alarming ve~ locity, the Chapter Chairman put through emergency tele~ phone calls to Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville, reporting on the dangerous condition of the wind and asking that re~ lief be sent should he fail to communicate again with them within 12 hours. The Red Cross Field Representative for the State of Florida, relayed this message from .Jacksonville to the National Headquarters at Washington, D. C. vVhile the above description refers directly to the prepar~ edness measures of the Palm Beach County Chapter, where the heaviest losses occurred, the same type of disaster pre~ paredness organization was duplicated in practically all the Florida Chapters. Ha.ving been kept fully advised of the storm's course by the U. S. Weather Bureau, the N ational Headquarters had several hours before the storm dispatched six members of its Staff to Florida from various points, and had telegraphed each chapter to be ready for emergency duty, with authorization to expend limited sums of money in the name of the N ational Organization. The Chapters responded at once to the call. The Jacksonville Chapter reported the readiness of its relief units and nurses; the St. Petersburg Chapter telegraphed that doctors, nurses and supplies were prepared for service anywhere; at Miami, the Relief Committee met and planned every step in advance the day before the storm. The last group at first naturally shaped its program for its own city but when, from Weather Bureau reports, it appeared certain that the storm would strike Palm Beach County. the Committee dispatched two representatives by automobile to the scene. These men stayed in Palm Beach until the storm struck, they learned the relief needs as accurately as possible, then rushed back to Miami to obtain supplies. GEOGRAPHICAL EXTENT OF DESTRUCTION

While, as has been stated, the storm swept northwestward from the East Coast nearly to the .West Coast of Florida, cunred northward and',finally crossed the Canadian bor~.~~l •







• .. .


• •

.. •



the d~vas~ated ~rea lay chiefiy within the following Florida counties hsted 111 the order of their relative losses: Palm Beach, Broward, Okeechobee, Martín, Hendry. Glades County, which had such a regrettable loss of life at Moore~aven .in the 1926 hurricane, escaped in 1928 with comparat1vely httle damage. lVIany disaster refuo-ees from other parts, however, were cared for by the Glade~· County Chapter, which had been organized since the 1926 storm as a preparedness 1neasure. Other Red Cross Chapters which, without great damage or relief problems at home, either received refugees from the stonn center or answered calls to send in supplies or relief units, are: Arcadia, Dade Conty, East Volusia County, Fort Myers, Haines City, Indian River County, Jacksonville, Polk County, Sarasota, Sebring, St. Lucie County, St. Petersburg, Tampa, West Volusia County, Winter Haven. In the area affected were 55 towns, all of which in varying degrees felt the effects of the hurricane. More than 20,000 familes were affected, 12,000 of whom owned, or partially owned, their property. Adding to the misery of the inhabitants and to the damage to property in roofless buildings, was the heavy rainfall accompanying the wind. It rained two inches on September 15 and nine inches on the 16th: the day of the storm. For severa! days afterwards it continued to rain heavily. In the center of the Florida Everglades is Lake Okeechobee, with an area of 1,000 square miles. It is shallow, but very dangerous when exposed to high winds. On the night of the hurricane the waters were blown southward by the wind and overfi~wed the embankmen ts at the rim of the lake. The exact number of deaths by drowning in and around Lake Okeechobee caused by the hurricane will never be known, but the Red Cross estímate is 1,770. Most of the deaths were among the negro laborers who had e_n tered the Everglades a short time previously for the plantmg season. Since a large percentage .of t~ese negroes h~d c~me from Nassau (British 'Vest Ind1es) , 1t was.not poss1ble In a great many instances to identify the bodies. Due to· the. slow




recession of the water in the Everglades, bodies were still being recovered late in October, and scores were never found. In the Florida Engineer and Contractor of October, 1928, appears an article on the "Effects of th~ Septei?ber ~urri­ cane on Lake Okeechobee" by F. C. Elhott, ch1ef dra1nage engineer. The following quotation "\vill aid _in ~iving a geographic picture of the Okee~hobee distriCt . and help visualize the conditions under whiCh so 1nany hves were lost. "In the southeast section of the lake, there is a large pocket known as South Bay. The water throughout South Bay is shallow, varying from a few inches along its edge to five to seven feet at distances of five or six miles off shore. Here the water reached its greatest height during the first phase of the storm. Water levels, as evidenced by marks of all kinds, chiefly wave-deposited trash and debris, indicate that the crest reached the elevation of 26.3 feet. During the week ending the day prior to the storm, the elevation of the lake ranged from ·16.3 to 16.4 feet, which was 1.3 feet above the level designated by the War Department as the desirable minimum. The day following the storm the lake stood at 17.3 feet. Land elevation along this section varies generally from 18.0 to 19.0 feet. Storm waters in the South Bay section of the lake were driven ten feet above the lake leve!. "Near midnight of the 16th a lull cam~, indicating the center or vortex of the storm. This lulllasted 40 to 50 minutes in the east lake section, according to the best information. Following this lull, the wind carne in with sudden and violent force from the south and slightly southwest. This was the second phase of the storm. The wind from the south promptly shifted the lake crest from the south end to the north end. Indications are that the Iake level reached an elevation of 26.0 feet at the north end. Elevations refer t~ mean low-water, Gulf of Mexico at Punta Rassa. The w1nd from .the south reached its maximum intensity in a~out 30 minutes to one hour after beginning, continuing ~1th gre~t force for three or four hours, after which it rap· 1dly SUbSided. .



"Along the east shore of Lake Okeechobee, the water rose from llh to 2Jf2 feet, as measured at Canal Point and at the head of Saint Lucie Canal. ... "Along the entire south shore of the lake, there are temporary dykes or levees extending to elevations of from 22 to 28 .feet. .The lower sections of the levee were topped. The h1gh po1nts show unmistakable evidence that the water did not go over these high points. The temporary levee was constructed for the most part of muck marl and sand . ' places where' or a miXture of the above and of rock in a few rocks had been encountered in excavating. Though without riprap protection, considerable breaches of the levee su:ffered but minor da1nage. In a few places the levee was complete!y breached; in many places the top was washed away to a depth of two to three feet. The section of levee within which damage occurred extended from Pelican Point to Miami Canal, a distance of 114,242 feet. The aggregate length of levee washed out to below elevation 20 feet is 8,500 feet. On September 30, Lake Okeechobee stood at elevation 18 feet." The building loss was enormous. Approximately 32,400 buildings were destroyed or damaged, almost complete destruction resulting on the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee. The statistical statement in the Appendix gives in detail, by locality, a picture of the losses incurred. EMERGENCY ACTION

General: The public officials and Chapter officers of the cities to whom the Palm Beach Red Cross Chairman tele- · phoned took immediate action. Miami remembered with ' .. gratitude that two years previously the pos1t10ns were exactly reversed. Then Miami received .the storm's ce~ter, and West Palm Beach was the nearest mty to escape senous damage. Men with trucks were dispatched northwar? from Miami, clearing the roads of. trees and o~her debr1s. So rapid and e:ffective were the1r e:fforts aga1nst tremendous difficulties, that theyreached West Palm Beac~ by 10 o'clock the night of September 17. They were quiCkly followed by a motor caravan of watertank wagons and medical sup-


' t




plies, doctors and nurses-a most commendable piece of work on the part of a sister city. Similar acts of helpfulness were performed by other cities towa.rd the disaster stricken communities nearest them, as by Tampa, St. Petersburg, Raines City, Fort Myers, J acksonville and others. Rescue: Posts of the A1nerican Legion performed prodigies of labor and relief. Theirs were the self-imposed task of penetrating through debris, water and muck to the points of greatest distress; of rescuing the living; and, most distressing of all, searching for the dead. A veritable battle- ¡ field was again before them, a challenge to the memory of those other days of equal, though prmneditated destruction. Individually, their volun teer personnel could not ignore personal responsibilities for more than a few days, but by calling on the neighboring Posts for details of men, they were able to continue these operations throughout the emergency period. The American Red Cross acknowledges with gratitude the assistance rendered by Legionnaires throughout the weeks and mon ths of the rehabilitation period, as members of its local Advisory Committees, as references on particular cases, and in countless other ways. The work of the U. S. Coast Guard was of great value in meeting the emergency, especially in the rescue work around Lake Okeechobee. Survey: One of the major tasks which immediately confronted each stricken com1nunity was to survey the extent of the loss and estímate the needs which the disaster sufferers faced. Reports from members of these Survey and Intelligence Committees were cleared through the Committees on Disaster Preparedness and Relief and passed out to the operating committees who were dealing with particular phases of emergency relief. Telegraphic reports were sent toNational Headquarters, American Red Cross, at Washington, D. C., and thus a composite picture of the whole was ob~ tained and given to the country through news releases. Food: A total of 22 Canteen and emergency feeding centers were established by Red Cross Chapters in the stricken area. In addition, prepared packages of food were distributed to needy disaster sufferers. Mass feeding was gradually supple~ mented by the system of issuing individual requisitions for

... 1



foo~ to eac~ depe~dent family. This accomplished not only the 1mmed1~te rehef of the disaster sufferer, but also tended to re-est.ablish ~onn~l business and economic relationships. Cl~tlnn_g: ] or the most part, the distribution of used cloth1ng 111 all areas ~as handled by the Salvation Army. Appeals through N atlonal Headquarters to the Red Cross Chapters ?ver the cou?try brought a very large 'response in used cloth1ng. The ra1lroads, express companies and steamship lines of the country cooperated by ordering that all ship1nents of relief material shipped by one unit of the Red Cross to another unit in the stricken area, would be handled free of 'charge. At the request of the Salvation Army the distribution of used clothing was assigned to their o;ganization. It was no small task since carload after carload of sueh material had to be received, sorted, sterilized and :fi.nally distributed. Shelter: On account of the great destruction of the less substantial residence buildings, the problem of temporary shelter was extremely serious. Also, because of the heavy rain accompanying the h urricane, the household furnishings, bedding, clothing and the like in many unroofed hmnes were water soaked. All available cots and blankets were gathered together and shelters were established in public buildings, such as court houses, schools, churches, freight warehouses and so on. On Monday night, September 17, in West Pahn Beach~ 304 white and 970 colored refugees were sheltered; on Tuesday night 1,080 white and 1,652 colored were housed. And so the problem grew as the need for sleep and shelter forced many to discontinue for a few hours their feverish, night-and-day efforts to repair or make habitable their own homes. By Thursday, the 20th, the peak in West Palm Beach was reached when over 3,000 white persons and 2,500 colored were being housed in refugee cen ters. and an equal number were accommodated in prĂ­vate dwellmgs. On Tuesday, September 18, a request was made to the Army for a supply of cots and blankets. Two thousand cots and 1,000 blankets were promptly forwarded . by the U. S. War Department from Ft. McPherson, Georg1a: These arrived by express and were distributed to ~h.e vanous refu~ee centers in West Palm Beach, Boynton, R1v1era, Kelsey C1ty,





Jupiter, Pahokee, Belle Glade and Canal Point. This was merely the initial shipment from the U. S. Army stocks. Considerable shipments of tents, cots, bed sacks and blankets followed as the need for greater comfort grew. Grateful ' ~ acknowledg1nent is here made to the U. S. War Depart1nent on behalf of the storm victims for its very generous and helpful attitude. Crews of laborers and carpenters were started, caravan fashion, making teniporarily habitable many dwellings which were off their foundation or unroofed. Immense quantities of paper roofing were also distribu ted on an emergency basis to individual home owners for the temporary protection of plastering and household goods from the heavy rain which continued for several days after the storm. Many winter residents gave permission for their homes to be used by storm victilns, and this helped very materially in relieving the housing situation. Gradually, as the ind01nitable courage of the people and the resourcefulness of their leaders prevailed, the shelter situation was adjusted. By October 6, all other refugee centers were abandoned and the families still in need of shelter were placed by the Red Cross in two tent colonies, the tents being supplied by the U. S. Army. H ealth: Matters pertaining to public health and sanitation, are, following a disaster as in normal times, the responsibility of the State, county and municipal health authorities. The Red Cross supplemented their efforts in ways requested by the appropriate officials. Therefore in this dis. all others, sueh matters as the protection ' of water aster, as In and n1ilk supply, immunization against communicable disease and inspection of disposal facilities were not handled directly by the Red Cross. On account ~f the possibility of typhoid infection, protective inoculation was offered by the Florida State Board of Health. Two members of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases were detailed to the storm area, and nearly 8,000 persons outside of West Palm Beach began the typhoid preventive inoculations' of whom 6 490 completed the treatment. On the early morning immediately after the wind subsided, the Sub-Committee on Medica! Aid of the Pahn )



Beach County Chapter assembled. Immediate steps were taken to secure emergency hospital facilities. As the casualities arrived, they were taken to three emergency hospitals or first aid stations where doctors and nurses, with emergency equipment, were in attendance. The Sub-Committee on Medical Aid continued to function as long as needed, supported loyally and without remuneration by the medical und nursing profession of the city. Two hundred and ten doctors and seventy-eight nurses are recorded as having given more than 50 hours of volunteer service each. So well did the public health authorities and the Red Cross Committees on Medical Aid in the various communities function that on September 28, the following bulletin was issued: "Health conditions in Palm Beach County and surrounding disaster area are in excellent condition at the present time. There has been no outbreak of typhoid, malaria, influenza or any other communicable diseases, and we do not anticípate any. A few cases of suspected influenza have been reported, bu t most of them proved to be ordinary colds. "The state and local health officials are busily engaged in the entire disaster area in immunizing all refugees and others who wish to be immunized against typhoid and smallpox. Several thousand inoculations have already been given and the work will continue. The situation, we believe, is well in hand and we feel confident that the health conditions will not be materially affected because of the disa.ster. All health agencies are cooperating splendidly and working harmoniously with the state and local health officials. (Signed) DR. B. L. ARMS, State Health Officer. DR. E. D. CLAWSON, Health Officer, West Palm Beach and Chairman Red Cross. DR. JoHN McMuLLEN, Senior Surgeon, U. S. Public H ealth Service. DR. WILLIAM DEKLEINE, Director, M edical Service, American Red Cross. DR. PERCY L. JoNES, Col. U. S. Army, M edical Corps.





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Transportation: During the height of the e!llergency period, in Palm Beach County alone 93 cars of volunteers making an average of 553 trips per day, and .51 trucks making an average of 206 trips per day are recorded. In addition there were 38 motor boats and four airplanes. This does not take into account the unorganized efforts of individuals in helping neighbors or the great number of cars and trucks sent into the devastated area from outside Chapters. The railroads of the country granted not only the privilege of free freight and express but also, for a limited time, the free transportation of refugees. This privilege was extended to 1,427 persons up to 6 P. M., September 28. Conditions were chaotic, and it was possible to give but cursory investigation at first. Investigations were gradually tightened, however, until the full provisions of the transportation agreemen t between ra.ilways and social agencies were adhered to. After October 4, the privilege was wisely withdrawn, and thereafter railway fare ( either half or full) was paid by the Red Cross on behalf of its needy clients. In those early instances, where free transportation was obtained by refugees, even though the Red Cross had not been a party to procuring the same, the Red Cross stood ready to pay return transportation for those disaster sufferers who were likely to become dependent upon other social agencies Ă?l) the locality to which they had gone. Cornmunications: For varying lengt.hs of time, telephone and telegraph connections with the severa! sections of the disaster stricken area were severed. Five minutes after the Chairman of the Palm Beach County Chapter had cornpleted his call to Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville, or about 2 P. M. of Sunday, September 16, the wires were blown down and West Palm Beach was isolated. Herculean and heroic efforts were puĂş forth by the employees of the companies, but the task throughout the entire path of the storm was tremendous. During this period of isolation, amateur radio stations performed splendid service. Station 4 AFC at Palm Beach made contact with Station 4 IX at Tavares, Florida, at 7.30 A. M . Monday, September 17, and maintained night and



day watch until 3.30 A. M., Thursday, the 20th. Up to 12 P. M. on September 22, station 4 AFC was off the air only 15 hours. Thereafter till the end of the emergency steady schedules were maintained with Station 4 CV, which was established at Belle Glade by men1bers of the Tampa Post, American Legion. Station 4 CV was discontinued when telegraphic service with Canal Point was resumed about September 30. During the first five days, 4 AFC handled approximately 10,000 words of press matter and sent 16 messages for the Red Cross and local authorities besides 162 personal messages, and received 20 1nessages for the Red Cross and local authorities, a number of personal messages, and sorne 200 messages from 4 CV at Belle Glade. Station 4 AFC has the distinction of transmitting the first direct message to N ational Headquarters of the Red Cross after the storm. It was picked up by the Army radio station at Washington and immediately telephoned at 1 :45 A. M., September 19, to the proper Red Cross Offi.cials in Washington. Through the Army station and 4·AFC the Red Cross was able to get its messa.ges through until other colnmunication could be reesta.blished. Emergency Bills: A total of $471,770 was expended by the Red Cross in payment of bilis incurred by its various cha.pters. It has previously been stated that the various Red Cross Chapters were given telegraphic authority from N ational Headquarters to incur obligations in limited amounts. Added to the fact that, for the most· part, the commitments were in writing on purchase order forros, this made it possible to audit and pay these ernergency bilis very promptly after receipt. Diffi.culties carne only in those few instances where supplies were purchased by sorne unauthorized person, or in those rare instances where fraud was intended. The Chairman of Palm Beach County Chapter has the foliowing public statement: "The cooperation which we received in that particular [the settlement of ernergency bilis] frorn the Nation~l Organization was nothing short of phenomenal and rnost gratifying to us. They would not pay vouchers where people



had rushed out madly and bought a raincoat to serve them during the height of the storm, and contracted for $25 or $30 for such garments; but in every itero of necessary expense that was incurred through the authority of our local Chapter in Palm Beach County, those bilis were met, and met without quibble by the American National Red Cross."










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REHABILITATION General: In at least two very important particulars, the work in Florida differed from that in Porto Rico: l. The population in the devastated area of Porto Rico was largely rural-in Florida, urban. ¡ 2. Relief in Porto Rico could be conducted largely on a "mass" basis, whereas in Florida the wide divergence in economic status made imperative a case by case determination of need. These factors in Florida contributed to make the work particularly difficult: l. The deflation of real estate values following the boom of 1924-1925 left many "property poor" and with the real estate titles greatly involved. 2. Many people whose bornes were destroyed or damaged were carrying mortgages that had reached the point of foreclosure. The purpose of Red Cross relief is to assist the owner and not the mortgagee. 3. In Palm Beach County, alone, 14 banks had failed in the 24 months preceding the hurricane. Banks that two years before had $50,000,000 deposits had been reduced to $10,000,000 or $12,000,000. State and Area H eadquarters :-It has been stated heretofore that before the hurricane struck the Florida coast the N ational Headquarters had sen t in six experienced disaster relief workers. Arriving at J acksonville, Florida, they spread out into the various counties in the wake of the storm, in order to give what assistance they could and especially to determine the extent of the need. V\7ith this accomplished, they concentrated upon West Palm Beach, for it was then








}J~'SS f

\•".,f'kEY WEST



apparent that there was the greatest damage and the greatest need. The principal purpose which these ~ational representatives could serve at that time was to fort1fy the var1ous local Red Cross Chapters with their experience and also m~intain liaison between the Red Cross Chapters of the d1saster stricken area and N ational Headquarters. On September 27, State Headquarters was esta~lished in an office building in West Palm Beach under the Director of Field Operations. Coincidentally, Area offices were established, with Area Directors in charge and responsible to the Director, as follows: Name of area

Area line

H eadquarters

West Palm Beach

That part of Palm Beach County, lying East of an imaginary line drawn North and South through Twenty Mile Bend

W est Palm Be aeh


The remainder or Western part of Palm Beach County


Broward County

All of Broward County

Ft. Lauderdale

Okeechobee County All of Okeechobee County

Okeechobee City

These areas comprised the territory most a:ffected by the disaster. However, in order to insure that no part of the territory be excluded from relief, an itinerant supervisor was assigned to organize and direct the work in the a:ffected sections of Hendry, Glades, St. Lucie and Martín Counties. The only section not ¡covered by the Red Cross Relief organization was the City of Palm Beach, which is well known as the winter home of many wealthy people. An exchange of letters between the Director and the Mayor of Palm Beach disclosed the fact that for the few in his city who would need assistance the Mayor had sufficient relief funds. Assembling the Staff: By September 24, the group of N ational workers had increased to 28, with others en route from all parts of the country. At the peak, 82 family workers



were employed. Reduction in force was possible the middle of December. By January 19, 1929, the family work service had been reduced to ten workers and was entirely discontinued January 30. Adequate stenographic and clerical assistance, as well as auditors and bookkeepers, were employed locally at prevailing wage scales. N urses, of whom there was a grand total of 93, were discharged following the closing of the emergency period for the reason that the medical situation was never grave. By October 27, 1928, the number of nurses on duty in all areas was reduced to five. Grateful acknowledgment is made to the various agencies throughout the country who released or "loaned" their experienced workers to the Red Cross for the duration of the work. Money value does not measure this contribution of the agencies to West Indies Hurricane Relief, and, on behalf of the disaster sufferers the Red Cross says, "We thank you." Registration: Without systematic registration of disaster victims, no constructive relief work can be accomplished. Consequently, a Registration Department was established very early with its card files for each district, master files for each Area office, and grand master files for State Headquar, ters. The following schedule gives the total registration of Florida families, as well as the number from each Area: West Palm Beach Area ................. . 7,710 families Everglades Area . .... . .... . . . .... . . . .. . 2,126 families Broward County Area ....... . . .. ....... · 1,390 families 723 families Okeechobee County Area ....... . ...... . 758 families Others ......................... . .... . Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,707 families • Family W ork: At the time of setting up the ~eld hea~­ quarters under the N ational Director, the clos1n~ o~ t~e

emergency work was progressing favorably. COinmdentally an infiltration of trained family workers into each dis. trict 'established the beginning of the rehabilitation périod. Pending the completion of the workers' study of the losses,







resources and needs of each family, each worker was given limited authority to issue Red Cross emergency requisitions, thus insuring that no family should su:ffer. Promptly after completion of the necessa.ry study of the family's finances and prospects, a decision was reached by the respective Area Directors or by the Director as. to a total award from the Relief F'und, also as to the purposes for which the award might be spent. Thereafter a credit account was set up on the books of the organization in favor of the disaster sufferer, which account might be drawn u pon by him as he progressed with his rebuilding, replanting, refurnishing, recovery from injury or what not. This procedure has the advantage of preventing the evils of a "first come, first served" method. Of those registered, 80 per cent received assistance. For sorne, the aid received during the emergency period was sufficient; others were able to weather the first few days but found it impossible to completely rehabilitate themselves; still others received both emergency and rehabilitation aid from the Red Cross. The following schedule indicates clea.rly the basis upon which cases were closed: 10,314 families had their needs met by the Red Cross. 764 families were found to have sufficient resources to recover without help. 695 families stated that they did not want help. 934 families either could not be located or had incurred no loss.

Disbursing of Awards: As needed by each family, Red Cross Disbursing Orders (equivalen t to purchase orders used by commercial houses) were issued. Each family was required to select its own merchant, which had the desired effect of stimulating business in the former channels, and promoting the rehabilitation of local dealers. .Advisory Committees: In order to give the Director, Area D1rectors, and family workers in all districts the counsel and viewpoint of each community, local Advisory Committees were organized. These committees met regularly with the Area Directors and family workers, reviewing case histories and oftentimes giving helpful suggestions asto increasing or



decreasing awards. Though awards were always supported by detailed, carefully worked out and verified data it was inevitable that sorne errors should be n1ade in co~piling 12,707 individual family records under great pressure. In addition to their assistance in award making, these men and women of the Advisory Committees afforded a splendid medium for the interpretation of Red Cross Disaster Relief work to the disaster victims and to their communities generally. Colored Advisory Comrnittee: In arder to carry on successfully the relief and rehabilitation work and to avoid neglecting any individual or group, and, in view of the fact that a considerable percentage of the disaster sufferers were colored people, it was thought best to appoint a Colored Advisory Committee. This committee was composed of representatives from the various sections of the disaster area, people of high intelligence and educational attainments, capable of judging the existing situation without prejudice. Their primary duty was to visit the entire area and report on conditions as they found them with particular reference to treatment accorded members of their race. We quote below an article released to the press by the Colored Advisory Committee: "Local colored citizens of W est Palm Beach, who live here and are in position to know, feel it absolutely necessary to refute the false reports which are being circulated with reference to Red Cross policy. A Local Negro Advisory Committee has been organized with the sanction of Red Cross Officials. This committee was formed for .the purpose of protecting negro interests in the reception of relief. Complaints and suggestions to the Red Cross are submitted through this medium. This committee wishes to state with great emphasis that it has met with whole-hearted cooperation on the part of Red Cross executives. Investigations made by the committee prove conclusively that negro storm sufferers are receiving adequate aid. "The emergency period of the recent disaster has passed. It is now solely a question of permanent rehabilitation work.



Thorough investigation must be a part of the same distribution of charity. Unworthy and undeserving applicants must be weeded out in order that genuine sufferers may benefit sufficiently. This takes time. There must of necessity be a certain amount of delay. Incredible complications arise. Many people whose homes were partially demolished are carrying mortgages that have reached the point of foreclosure. If the Red Cross reconstructs homes of this type, they will only be doing so for the benefit of the holder of the mortgage, and therefore will not be helping the borne owner. This exan1ple is just one of the hundreds of obstacles that beset the path of the dispenser of charity. "The Negro Advisory Committee is conversant with the facts in general a.nd special cases, and realizes that through their inside knowledge, their people are being dealt with fairly. The cOmmittee, knowing that its people are receiving their full pro-rata of relief, cannot but be embarrassed when ungrounded cmnplaints are aired by chronic kickers. "The work of reconstruction is progressing swiftly. West Palm Beach is fast approaching a state of normality. Red Cross workers are to be highly commended for their efficient, impartial, and hearty distribution of aid to the needy. In this era of discrimination, it is a positive stimulant to come in contact with a group of white people so free from the prejudice complex. Red Cross workers are not inquiring as to color, but as to need, and with reference to actual storm losses. Give them credit for this attitude. Let them know that we appreciate it. Offer the cooperation that they need in the huge task that is theirs. "Stop hindering. Look for the good things instead of forever assuming that discrimination is their policy. If you must criticise, do so constructively and not destructively. Be sure of your facts before voicing your charges. "The Negro Advisory Committee, here u pon the scene, has found that its suggestions are acted upon, that its complaints are listened to, and existing evils remedied, mistakes corrected, justice done." The names of those who served so unselfishly and well as




1nembers of the severallocal Advisory Committees and also of the Colored Advisory Committee are listed in the Appendix. Agriculture: In the field of agriculture, merely feeding the people and repairing and refurnishing homes is not sufficient. The population is dependent for its long look ahead upon what crops it can raise. Asan emergency measure, the Red Cross financed the resetting of citrus trees, the roots of which were upturned and exposed to the air. But the largest proble1n was that of the small truck farmer, especially in the western part of Palm Beach County in the Everglades Area. In normal seasons, from one to three crops of truck are produced on this wonderfully productive "muck" land. Three thousand carloads of vegetables were produced from the 15,000 acres of this land which were in cultivation in Palm Beach County during the season 1927-1928. ¡ The planting season had just commenced when the storm struck. Around Lake Okeechobee, the land was covered with water for several weeks; the drainage fall is very slight in south Florida and it was necessary to await the repair of dykes befare pumps could effectively uncover the land. At the request of the Red Cross, the director of the Extension Division of the U. S. Department of Agriculture carne to Florida. Acting upon his advice and that of the director of the Agricultura! Extension Division of the U niversity of Florida, the Red Cross embarked upon an emergency relief program confined to providing needy farmers with the following: l. 2. 3. 4.

Seed. Fertilizer. Feed for work stock. Gasoline and oil for tracoors.

The several county agricultura! agents cooperated very effectively in supplying the Red Cross with data as to the condition and needs of each farmer. In addition, the Red Cross was glad to avail itself of the assistance of the home demonstration agents in distributing prepared packets of mixed vegetable seeds for home garden use.




The Ford Motor Company did a most commendable piece of work. More than 150 Fordson tractors belonging to farmers had been temporarily disabled by the destruction or deterioration from water of their ignition and other parts. At the suggestion of the Red Cross, the Ford Company sent two truck loads of parts and two expert mechanics from their Jacksonville plant and placed these Fordsons in repair. This represented a contribution of several thousand dollars from the Ford interests. Loan Funds: In addition to the emergency farm relief program of the Red Cross, much good was done through a Palm Beach County Farm Loan Fund. This was in no way connected with the Red Cross, although sorne of the officials of the Palm Beach County Chapter were identified with it. From a total fund of approximately $100,000, loans at 5 per cent were made in sums up to $300 to owners and tenants of good standing, who, having had agriculturalloss due to the storm, were unable to finance a reasonable acreage otherwise. Building and Repairs: An extensive program of rebuilding was carried on by the Red Cross. More than a million dollars was expended for building materials and labor alone, this being four times greater than for any other single type of relief. Building awards were handled in exactly the same manner as other awards. Each client was permitted to choose his own contractor or merchant and to proceed with the work under his own supervision, following a previously agreed upon plan. In order to give the greatest measure of protection to each client and to Red Cross funds, contractors' estimates were closely scrutinized by building experts on the Director's staff. Also these building advisers inspected the completed work on the larger jobs before authorizing payment. This type of service was rendered in 3,624 cases. A crew of house movers operated for a short time under the supervision of the Red Cross building advisers. Thus houses were put back on their foundations for 81 selected disaster sufferers. As a safeguard against future high winds, 704 houses were anchored to concrete foundation piers by





means of galvanized bolts, each bolt having a large washer on the end to secure it in the concrete. This procedure received the approval and commendation of local building inspectors. The recent hurricane had revealed th9t the lack of sufficient anchorage to foundations was one of the chief causes of so 1nany wrecked homes. Service by Children to Children: Christ1nas, 1928, afforded an excellent opportunity for practica! expression of the sympathy which the children of the country felt for their little friends in south Florida. Throughout the relief fuvd campaign, reports carne to N ational Headquarters of sums of money given through the Junior Red Cross organization in schools. Not all such were reported, but undoubtedly severa! thousands of dollars were so subscribed to the general relief fund. In many of the schools, athletic and playground equipment, school pictures, library and reference books were destroyed by the storm and could not be replaced by the school boards or other officia.l agencies. An appropriation of $5,000 was made available from the funds contributed through the Junior Red Cross and much of this equipment was restored. From this same appropriation were provided Christmas packages, suitable to the age and sex of each child in the Everglades region. Each contained such items as a book, a useful article, candy and nuts. The packages were wrapped and marked with handmade Christmas greeting cards prepared by the art classes in the schools of 1nore fortunate communities. Toys were furnished for these same children by the Salvation Army. The whole program was carefully coordinated with the Christmas programs of other agencies and worked out in cooperation with the school officials, Parent-Teacher Association and local Junior Red Cross officials. Deferred Payment Accounts: It is rarely possible to completely liquidate all Red Cross obligations during the few weeks or months that a disaster relief unit is functioning in the territory. There are usually a few families who have been found entitled to assistance from the relief fund, but



t 1



who have not been able to make definite plans for using their awards. Oftentimes illness or disaster-caused injury will make it in~dvisable to rebuild and refurnish a home at once And there are widows and orphans who must look to the Red Cross for many years to supply the income lost when the breadwinner was killed. For such as these, the Red Cross provides awards from the Relief Fund in the form of credit or "deferred payment accounts," which are administered from National Headquarters, with a representative of the local Red Cross Chapter assisting in an advisory capacity. Eighty-four such deferred payment accounts were set up in Florida following the September hurricane. FOLLOW-UP PROGRAM

As far as possible, all needs of disaster origin should be met before a Red Cross Disaster Relief unit closes its work. However, a disaster relief operation is intensive, high pressure work, with its human possibility of error. Even though the financia! and social treatment accorded fa.milies may have been ba.sed upon sound case work, unforeseen changes within the families themselves may make it difficult for them to make the proper adjustments. These potential and actual continuing needs of sorne of the disaster sufferers, together with the greater understanding of and interest in social work which the Red Cross Chapters in the disaster area had acquired, determined the organization of local Red Cross forces into a follow-up program. Sorne of the best family workers on the disaster relief staff were assigned to the various chapters in the a.rea either as executive secretaries or as family workers. A supervisor was provided by N ational Headquarters for ~h:ee months for the purpose of coordinating and standardrzing the work in the various chapters. ¡ Sufficient funds were made available to each of the follo; ing Chapters for carrying on its part of the work: Pa Beach County Chapter, Broward County, Chapter, Okee-




chobee County Chapter,. Martín County Chapter, Glades County Chapter, St. LuCie County Chapter. In addition to its primary purpose of follow up, the program was a real stimulant to greater activity in other branches of Red Cross work-Disaster Preparedness, Junior Red Cross, Public Health N ursing, First Aid and Life Saving, Home Service, Home Hygiene and Care of the Sick, Nutrition and Volunteer Service. Thus on March 1, 1929, the National Organization, through its disaster relief unit, turned back to its Red Cross Chapters the disaster relief work for follow-up which these chapters had started and carried on so effectively during the acute emergency period. The N ational Organization, working through local Advisory Committees, had carried the overload of the rehabilitation period. Airplane Picture: An inspection by airplane was made of the en tire area by the Director before he left Florida, going as the guest of the W est Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Central Farmers Trust Company. A few weeks previously such an airplane picture would have presented only unroofed and demolished houses; streets and highways impassable by reason of debris; great stretches of arable land fiooded with water and mud from broken canals, and other great stretches of fertile muck land laid waste by the hurricane. That day the picture was quite different. Cities, towns and villages had been set in order ; cleared streets were lined with replanted parkings; agricultura! lands were drained and covered with a most luxuriant growth of vegetation that seemed to have sprung up almost overnight; fields were again separated by ribbon-like drainage and irrigation canals · the whole countryside was dotted with reconstructedhom~s, the new unpainted lumber glittering brightly in the morning sun.


Appendices-Part 11







!1'1any letters and resolutions of appreciation have be en received from public officials, Chambers of Commerce, Local Advisory Committees and the like. Some of these are published herewith. Many hundreds of others giving expression to the gratitude of individuals for asssistance received, cannot be published without violating the valued confidence of Red Cross beneficiaries.

* * * To THE AMERICAN RED CRoss: BE IT RESOLVED, that it is tbe sense of the Citizens Advisory Committee of Lake W orth, Florida, that our citizens are deeply indebted to the American Red Cross for the valuable service it has rendered in the rehabilitation of our community from the havoc of the disastrous hurricane th>a.t swept our city on September 16th, 1928. It is with a sense of gratitude that we review the work of this organization and consider the number of homes it has restored, the number of distressed citizens it has made happy, and the vast amount of relief it has afforded our stricken community, and Be It Further Resolved that we commend the spirit in which the officials and representatives of the American Red Cross entered into the solution of our ma.ny problems. Torn and bleeding from the wreck of storm we instinctively turned our eyes to this organization for help and we have not been disappointed, and Be It Further Resolved tha.t to the great number of fine people in our nation, who, realizing our calamity, gave so generously of their means for our relief, we can only say, we are grateful. This 18th day of Janua.ry, A. D. 1929. (Signed) L. T. McGEE, Chairman.

* * * South Bay, Fla., Jan. 25, 1929. A. L. Schafer, Director, Disaster Relief Headquarters, American Red Cross, West Palm Beach, Florida. Dear Sir: As the work of the Red Cross is now fast drawing to a close in our Area we wish to take this means of expressing our tha.nks and appreciation for the work done by you and your co-workers for the people of our community. We feel that the work has been carried on conscientiously and efficiently. The assistance given the people in this section has given them a new start and they have taken an interest in re-





building their bornes and rehabilitation is under way in earnest. In a short time the visible effects of the hurricane will be erased. N aturally there has been sorne criticism, but in very few cases do we feel that there were any grounds for criticism and when the just complaints were brought to you in the proper light, we found you willing to necessary adjustments. Personally we do not feel that we are capable of making any suggestions that would improve the service you are rendering. Again personally and in behalf of the 'people do we wish to thank you and bid you good-bye. Sincerely, (Signed) V. C. DENTON, Chairman, R. D. MASSEE, D. w. CROCKER, Local Committee, South Bay, Fla.

* * *

Belle Glade, Florida, Jan. 25, 1929. A. L. Schafer, American Red Cross, West Palm Beach, Florida. Dear Mr. Schafer: On behalf of the citizens of Belle Glade, I desire to express to you our very deepest appreciation for the splendid work done by the Red Cross in this area. Your executives and workers have done their work with the sympathy and understanding that has given our people new hope and new ambition. Because of this work our community is today in a better condition than it was before the storm, and our people have higher ideals of living. Please allow meto express my own personal appreciation for the privilege of contact with your organization. Very sincerely yours, (Signed) WILLIAM J. BucK, M.D., Chairman, Lours C. BETZNER,

wALTER GREER, J. N. Monms, Ross


Belle Glade, Local Committee.

* * * A. L. Schafer, American Red Cross, West Palm Beach, Florida.

Pahokee, Fla., Jan. 29, 1929.

. ~ear Mr. Schafer: As your work is nearing completion we feel that 1t 1s our duty and pleasure to express to you our appreciation for tbe wonderful work that the Red Cross has done for our people, for the able



manner in which the Director, Area Directors, and the workers have met the many problems a.nd conquered them. Our committee has. found it a great pleasure in meeting with you, and we are well pleased w1th the awards that have been made with the assistan~e the pe?ple have received. 1Ve feel that they can ~ow go ahead, in wluch case 1t would have been impossible without this assistance from the Red Cross. Again thanking you for the noble work you and your assistants have done, we are, Y ours very truly, (Signed) E. G. KILPATRICK, JR., OseAn B. McCLURE,

W. H. Lom, J. R. POLAND, GEo. C. McCARTHY. ->:·

* * Stuart, Florida, Jan. 28, 1929.

A. L. Schafer, American Red Cross, West Palm Beach, Fla. My dear Mr. Schafer: We feel that we are being very generously taken ca re of by the N ational Headquarters and we wish to express to you our very sincere appreciation. We realize that it is very largely through your personal interest in our situation and your realization of our needs, that this much needed help is coming to us. I wish, therefore, on behalf of the Martín County Chapter, and, also on behalf of the people of Martín County to extend to you our most heartfelt thanks and to assure you that we shall endeavor to show our a;ppreciation by giving our whole-hearted cooperation in the work which you have made possible. Sincerely yours, M. R. CARTWRIGHT, Chairman, '(Signed) Martin County Chapter.

* * *

Canal Point, Fla., Jan. 28, 1929.

A. L. Schafer, American Red Cross, West Palm Beach, Fla. Dear Mr. Schafer: On the departure of the National Red Cross from active service in the Canal Point area it gives us great pleasure to express to· you and throuO'h you to the organization at Iarge · our most sincere appreciation for the great service rendered our people in their hour -of need. . The program of service rendered was far beyond what we thought




could have reasonably been expected and the workers assigned this territory have seemed a group selected especially for tireless and efficient service. They have given of their time and tireless efforts far beyond any consideration of salary, and have justly earned a greater reward than their monthly stipend. We sincerely hope that the National Organization can spare the time in the future to keep in close touch with the local organization so that they may be better to serve in an emergency their own area and quicker to realize their obligation when other areas are devastated. Please accept and pass on our most heartfelt gratitude. ¡ Sincerely, (Signed) H. L. SPEER, Chairman. w. L. BRANDON, w. P. JERNIGAN.

* * *

Okeechobee, Fla., Nov. 3, 1928.

A. L. Schafer, American Red Cross, West Palm Beach, Florida. My dear Mr. Schafer: I have been thoroughly over this section of the storm area several times since the N ational Red Cross has been active in this community, and. have talked with, perhaps, a substantial majority of the Red Cross beneficiaries and, on every hand, I hear nothing but commendation and exprassions of appreciation from them. I do not recall a single instance of one who sought, or was given Red Cross aid who is not entirely satisfied. With reference to the attitude of the community as a whole, the Red Cross work has been most satisfactory. When they began their work here, there was considerable criticism of the Red Cross in the community on account of a1leged red tape, and it seemed a prevailing feeling that the Red Cross would administer a few thousa.nd dollars in temporary relief and then move on. The members of your committee, without exception, advised and admonished the people to withhold any criticism until the work was advanced, and under the very able administration of your conscientious and efficient corps of assistants, the work of the Red Cross has been so excellent and the results so significant that the community, as a whole-and I do not know of a single exception-is high in its praise of the Red Cross work. I am sure that I e}..'J)ress the sentiment of the entire Advisory Committee when I congratulate you and this oommunity on the very wonderful work done here in the way of rehabilitation. I express, I am sure, the thanks and appreciation of this community to the N ational Red Croos organization, to the people of the N ation who have generously contributed to the Red Cross to aid in this great work, and most ¡intimately to your unselfish, untiring and efficient staff.



With further assurances of our appreciation, and with personal assurance fr?m the writer that it has been a great pleasure to meet you and to serve w1th ¡t he members of your organization, I am, Very cordially yours,

L. W.



Red Cross Advisory Committee.

* * * [Editorial from the Palm Beach Post of Sunday, January 6, 1929] RED CROSS RELIEF Once more the American Red Cross turns the page in its history of helping humanity and writes 'finis" to a chapter. Hurricane relief work in the W est Palm Beach area is virtually ended. A few officials and workers remain to conclude details, but the majority have moved to other fields. What a change has been wrought since they first carne to us in those hectic days following the disastrous storm! What a difference their efforts have made! The people of the W est Palm Beach storm area have a new conception of the American Red Cross-a conception borne of close association with that great organization's officials and workers. Wherever they may go, whatever they may meet, may they carry always the memory of friendships created here and the heartfelt thanks of a community. Although officially the American Red Cross is ending its administration in this hurri~ane district, its helping hand is not being withdrawn entirely. For the next two years the Palm Beach County chapter of the American Red Cross will receive extra funds from the N ational Organization, that every little detail of storm rehabilitation may be wiped off the ledger. Millions of dollars have been subscribed throughout the nation for this relief work. Through no other organization in the world could this have been possible. Millions have been spent in..this district alone and other thousands will be added to that during the eoming years. During the emergency period alone nearly half a million dollars was spent in immediate relief work.





MEMBERS OF THE LOCAL ADVISORY COMMITTEES W est Palm Beacb Area Palm Beach Advisory Committee: Alf R. Neilson, Chairman; Judge Harry Hauck, W. H. DaCamara and C. W. Carroll. Jupiter Advisory Committee; A. B. Wilson, Chairman; C. L. Bennett, R. J. Bowers and W. H . Reaves. La:ke Worth Advisory Committee: L. T. McGee, Chairman; Arthur Chartier; C. E. Allen, E . C. Swain, W. W. Toot, R. D. McElroy and Ward Randolph. Delray, Boynton, Boca Raton Advisory Committee : Matt Gracy, Chairman; J. C. Keen, Alwyn J. Ball, W. N. Johnson, Roy Meyers and B. B. Raulerson. Riviera Advisory Committee: Morey Dunn, Chairman; H . T. Stillwell and Virgil Strain. Everglades Area

Everglades Advisory Committee: E. G. Kilpatrick, Chairman¡ V.G. Denton, H. t. Speers, Dr. W. J. Buck and Charles Bird. Okeecbobee



Okeechobee County Advisory Committee : L. W. J ennings, Chairman; C. E. Simmons, J. D. McCarthy, L. M. Raulerson, Mrs. Hiram Raulerson, an:d P. Tomasello, Jr.

Broward County Area

Deerfield Advisory Committee: J. D. Butler, Chairman; vV. M. Johnson, George Carlton, F. L. Craig and J. H. Juvena. Pompano Advisory· Committee: Roland Hardy, Chairman; J. W. Walton, John C. Cook, H . H . Powers, A. J. Shiver, J. H. Hogan and George L. Blunk. Fort Lauderdale Advisory Committee: C. D. Rickard,· Chairman; Maxwell Baxter, L. A. Holland, L. B. Cannon, R. R . Saunders, Johu D. Sherwin, A. J. Ryan, Mrs. R. D. Bailey and Miss Grace Dunlap. Floranada Advisory Committee: C. D. Rickard, Chairman; J. D. Hawkins, B. F. Bailey and C. B. Baker.

Colored Advisory Committee: Dr. U. A. Ridley, Chairman, West .Palm Beach¡ Prof. S. D. Spady, Vice Chairman, Delray¡ Dr. W. H. Collie, Secretary, West Palm Beach; Dr. A. P. Holly, West Palm Beach¡ J. A. Ely, Deerfield¡ Mrs. A. L. Johnson, West Palm Beach¡ Dr. J . C. Hodges and Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune, Daytona Beach.







A. Population Affected. N o. of counties affected .................................... . N o. of counties in which a id was given . . .................... . No. of to\vns affected .......................•............... Population of affected area ................................. . Farnilies whose properties were affected ...................... . N o. of persons killed ....... . ............. . ... . ............. . No. of persons injured ....... . .............................. . B. Property Losses. N o. of buildings destroyed: Bornes ............................. . .................. . Other ........ .. ....................................... . N o. of buildings damaged: Bornes ................................................ . Other ...... +- • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Total buildings destroyed or damaged ........... . .......... . N o. of anirnals lost: W ork anirnals ......................................... . Cattle .... . . ... . . ......... . ......................... ... . Hogs ................ . .............. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Other ............... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Total anirnals lost ....................... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · N o. of poultry lost ........................ · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · N o. of farnilies losing: Household goods ............ . ............... · · · · · · · · · · · · Clothing ................. . ........ . .. . ..... · .. · .. · · · · · · Livestock and poultry .............. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

20 12 55 112,200 20,324 1,810 1,849

4,561 5,299 13,981 8,573 32,414


103 353 476 346 1,278 47,389 5,993 4,779 730

II. N ATURE AND ExTENT OF RELIEF PnoanAM A. Emergency Relief. . No. of persons given ernergency a1d: In camp ........ . .•...... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 12,020 Out oí carnp ................. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 18,305 No. of typhoid inoculati<?ns .......... · .. · · .... · ........ · · .. .. *10,349 No. of smallpox inoculatiOns ........... · ...... · · · · · · .. · · .. · · · 1,025 337 No. of tetanus inoculations ..... · · • · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

* Many


were tak en over by State Board oí Health before third shots were given.






B. Rehabilitation Relief. Families given: Rehabilitation aid

.............. ........................

Food . ...... . ..... . . . ........... ... ... .... ..... .. . .. . .. . Clothing ....... . ....... . ................. . ............. . Household goods . . ........... . .. . ....... . . ..... ...... . . . Tools, stock and equipment ..... . ..... .......... ....... . Building and repair ..................................... . Seed ... ..... . . . . ...... ........... .................... . . Feed ................. .. .... . ................. . ...... . . . Livestock and poultry .. . .. ..... ........................ . Farro implementa ......... . ................ . .. . ........ . Other .... .. .. . . . .. ......... . . .. . ............. ... ... .. .


7,456 1,811 2,638 4,064 347 3,624 931 123 296 71 1,301


Volunteers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .





Coutribtttious from individuals and others . .. .. ... . . .. ... . American Red Cross ......... , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Total Collections . ... . .... ... . ... . •.. ... .. ... .




Porto Rico and Virgin Islands Florida Rescue TVork : (Includes the cost of equipment, whether purchased or rented, used in rescuing disaster sufferers and their property, as well as salaries and maintenance oí rescue workers J•••••••••••••• $45,903.80 Relief Camps and Equipment : (Cost of establishing feeding stations, tent cities and other concentration points ) ...... ... ... .. . . 60,339.37 Transportation for Disast er Su,Jferers: (Cost of moving sufferers and their property from and to their bornes or other locations when not included under Rescue 10,942.81 Work) ........................ . Maintenance of Disaster Sufferers: (Includes cost of board and lodgings and rent, light and heat etc.) 39,785.22 Food: (Cost of food issued in and out of relief camps and expense 137,016.35 of handling.) . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. .. . . $525,848.04 Clothing: ( Covers purchases of wearing apparel and cost of handling purchased and donated cloth157,342.88 ing J • • • • . • . • • • • . . • . • . • . . . . • . . . . 163,921.00 Building and Repairs : (lncludes cost of materials and labor used in repairing or replacing buildings and the purchase oí land or im.. proved property for disaster sufferers) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,386,075.27 1,306,431.42 H ousehold Goods: ( Covers purchase and transportation of furniture, stoves, dishes, bedding and 346,310.86 3.235.08 household tools J .•. . .... ••. ...




10,942.81 39,785.22 662,864.39







Porto Rico and V irgin 1slands M edical and Nursing Service: (Covers cost of medica! and sanitary supplies, hospital charges and salaries and expenses of Doctors, 70,509.88 Nurses and Sanitary Inspectora). Family Service: (Covers salaries and expenses of workers collecting information used as a basis of rendering aid to the individual sufferer) ............... . . . . . .. . Field Supervision, Accounting and Other Field Expenses: . . . . . . . . . . 148,700.72 Agricultural Program: (Covers cost of seeds and fertilizers and labor in cleaning plantations.J . . . . . . . . 693,739.53 Feed jor Live Stor.k: ........... . . Live Stock and Poultry: (lncludes purchase of horses, mules, cattle, hogs, sheep and fowl. . . ...... . . . Farm lmplements : (Covers purchase of wagons, harness, plows, cultivators, etc ) . . ..... ...... ..... . Tools, Stoclc and Equipment: (Covers cost of supplies, books, and tools uscd by professional and trades people and stock and equipment for rnerchants) ....... . . . Cash Grants to Cha.pters: (For continuing relief to beneficiaries) â&#x20AC;˘ . 185,116.30 Junior Red Cross: (Covers cost of hot lunches for rural schools and the purchase of school libraries and equipment where necessary) 37,4~6.70 O ther: (M iscellaneous expenditures not properly chargeable to any of the above captions ) .......... . 16,659.95









78,757.86 7,195.37

772,497.39 7,195.37













Total Expenditures ...........*$3,231,262.47 $2,702,463.15 $5,933,725.62

--* Of this amount, $34,551.33 was spent in the Virgin Islands.





CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WEST INDIES HURRICANE RELIEF BY STATES S tate Alabama .. . .. ... . ... .. . ...... .. .......... . Alaska . . . . .. .... . .............. . ........ . . Arizona .. ... . . ... ........ . . . ....... .. ..... . Arkansas . . .. .. ........ . . . .. . .......... . . . . California .... . . . . . .. . ............ . : . ..... . Colorado ................ . ..... .. ..... .. ... . Connecticut . . ............ . ................ . Delaware . .. ........ . .. . . . .. . ......... . ... . District of Columbia .... . . . .. ... .. . .. . . ... . Florida ..................... . ............. . Georgia ......... . ........... . ........ .. ... .

Idaho . .. . ... . . . .. . ... . . .... . . .. . . .... . . · · · · Illinois ... . .. ..... .. .... . ...... .. . . . . .. . · · · · Indiana ..................... . . . ·. · · · · · · · · · · Iowa ......................... . .... · · · · · · · · · !{ansas ..... . ......... · ·. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · I\entucky ..... ... . . ... . .. .... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Louisiana ....... ... .......... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Maine ..... . .. . . . . . · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Maryland ................. · .. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Massachusetts ................. · · · · · · · · · · · · · Michigan .... . . . ...... . · .. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Minnesota . .... . .... .. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Mississippi . . . . .. ... . . ....... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Missouri ......... . ... . . . .... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Montana .. .............. ········ ·· · · ······· Nebraska .. . ... .. . . · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Nevada . . ............... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · New Hampshire .............. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · New Jersey ........... . · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · New Mexico . ........... ·. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · New York . . . . . . . . .... . ·. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · N orth Carolina .............. · · · · · · · · · · · · · • N orth Dakota .... .. ....... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Ohio ............ .. . .. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Oklahoma ...... . ... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Oregon ........... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Pennsylvania ... . .... . .... · · · · · · · · · · • · · · · · · Rhode Island .......... .. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · South Carolina . ... . ..... . . · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · South Dakota ... .......... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Tennessee . .. . .... . . . · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Texas ..... . ... · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Utah . . ......... . .. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Chapters Reporting 58 10 16 67 117 56 41 1 1 66 117 29 119 92 120 102 99 54 30 23 71 74 86 65 91 45 20 9

32 59 27 109 115 52 104 58 27 105


. 56 14 75 146 21

Amount Raised $40,380.78 4,811.30 12,251.10 18,580.16 371,122.58 30,929.60 115,441.80 29,175.30 64,943.74 229,123.51 112,973.92 7,117.82 295,743.99 108,096.14 51,140.95 26,263.65 50,532.73 77,664.06 43,885.75 89,404.19 298.991 .06 213,156.51 81,007.89 32,069.75 150,867.39 6,475.36 1,275.00 1,550.05 25,104.13 251,979.57 3,568.62 1,123,013.56 80,711.82 11,438.04 341,737.43 25,532.23 28,356.55 682,437.10 41,300.39 28,333.46 1,038.00 58,862.05 94,814.51 16,360.39



Chapters Reporting

Amount Raised


Vermont . .... ..... ...... .. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Virginia . . ......... .... . ....... .. ... . .. . · · · W ashinJ.?to.n ..... .. .. ... .. ... . ........ .. .. .. . ~ ~st V 1~g1ma ................. ..... ....... . Wiscons1n . ......... . ......... ..... ..... . . . yoming .. .... ..... . ......... .... ... . .... .

28 48 80 23

20,847.31 64,259.81 34,600.02 31,830.63 67,850.50 3,875.91

Total in the United States . . .. .. ... . .. .. .



1 1 1 1

$238,280.46 1,000.00 1,849.18 1,000.00



Insular and Foreign Chapters Porto Rico . .. .. . . . . . ....... . . .. .. . . .. .. . Canal Zone .... . .. . .................. .. . . Hawaii ......... .. ........... . . . . .... ... . Philippines .. .... . .... .. . . . . .. ... .... .. . .. . . Foreign Contributions Cuba .·.. . ........... . ................ ... . Mexico .............................. . . . . Spain ... ....... .. .......... ... . ........ . Miscellaneous ..... . ..... .... .... . ....... .

4,222.25 4,058.35 8,024.54 2,285.16

Total Insular and Foreign . . .. .. ....... . At Large ............................. . American Red Cross Contribution . . .. .. . Grand Total. ........ ........ .



$260,719.94 20,177.57 50,000.00 $5,933,725.62

Y our annual membership makes this and other work of the American Red Cross possible




Jurisdiction and Addresses of National Headquarters and Branch Offices of The American National Red Cross

The jurisdictions and addresses of National Headquarters and its Branch Offices follow: National Headquarters.-17th and D Streets N. W., Washington, D. C. Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New 'Jersey, N ew York, N orth Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Insular and Foreign operations. Midwestern Branch Office.-1709 Washington Avenu e, St. Louis, Missouri. Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming. Pacific Branch Office.-Civic Auditorium, Larkin and Grove Streets, San Francisco, California. Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington.

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The West Indies Hurricane Disaster, September 1928  
The West Indies Hurricane Disaster, September 1928  

Official Report of Relief Work in Porto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Florida. Washington, D. C.: The American National Red Cross, 1928.