American Red Cross Workers, Community Members and Emergency Responders Band Together During this Holiday Week
As the July Fourth holiday approaches, American Red Cross workers are helping those driven from their homes by massive flooding in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and wildfires in the western United States. Hundreds of people will spend this holiday sleeping in shelters and cleaning up thousands of damaged homes and businesses throughout the Midwest and Southwest.
“People affected by this rash of floods have lost property, livelihoods and, in some cases, cherished people and pets.” said Joe Becker, Senior Vice President of Disaster Preparedness and Response at the American Red Cross. “Their strength and spirit of community is clear; at American Red Cross shelters and disaster service centers we hear stories every day of neighbors going above and beyond to help others. But, the scale of these floods tells us that people in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are going to need extra help, a lot of extra help.” Becker added the Red Cross will be there every step of the way to ensure disaster victims have food, shelter and emotional support.
Kansas – Up to twenty inches of rain fell on southeast Kansas over the weekend, the National Guard was called in to perform rescues in some areas. Other areas are almost impossible to reach by road, so the Red Cross and the Salvation Army and other community organizations are doing everything they can safely do to get food, water and supplies to those in need. Adding to the flooding hazard is an oil pipe rupture near the town of Coffeyville, the Environmental Protection Agency is responding to that situation. The good news is that Kansas is no longer seeing measurable amounts of rain at this time. Red Cross shelters provide people with a safe place to sleep and to reconnect with friends and family.
Oklahoma – Beginning last week, heavy rainfall began the flooding in Lawton, and has expanded to Tulsa, Bartlesville and other parts of northern Oklahoma. While evacuations continue, state and local officials along with non-governmental organizations coordinate efforts to respond to the needs of local residents. People staying in Red Cross shelters find a safe haven and employees, volunteers and partners of the Red Cross who are helping address specific emergency needs for families.
Texas – Sixteen counties in Texas, including Wilson, Williamson, Burnet, Hood and Llano, have been soaked by rain for days, and the rain is expected to continue. Rescue workers are hard at work, while neighbor helps neighbor escape to higher ground. Access to flooded towns is not possible in some areas, the power is out in others - the Red Cross and other community organizations are doing the best they can to provide food, shelter and services to people who have been affected. Those who remain at home are urged to continue watching the news and listening to the radio, mindful that the call to evacuate could still come. Red Cross shelters house some of those who have evacuated, and with additional help from local churches and community organizations, people are getting help while they deal with the shock and loss that always accompanies disaster. Mental health counseling is provided at Red Cross shelters, and a partnership with the Southern Baptist organization allows for large scale food preparation and distribution.
The Red Cross Safe and Well website is also operating to assist those who have not yet reached loved ones. Evacuation orders usually require residents to flee quickly, leaving little time to gather important materials or communicate with friends and family before seeking shelter in a safer location. Connecting with loved ones is as important as food, water and safe shelter.
By registering themselves on Safe and Well before evacuations are ordered, or once safely away from fire or flood, residents can let loved ones know their status when telecommunication gets difficult.
To identify yourself or someone else as Safe and Well, or search for someone from the affected area:
Visit www.redcross.org and click on Safe and Well
Or call Safe and Well by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
If you hear from a loved one in the affected area, enter their information on the site to let people know they are Safe and Well
If you have phone or internet access, share that with your neighbors who do not. Invite them to use your computer access to place themselves on the site. Share your cell phone with your neighbors who may need to call 1-800-RED-CROSS for help listing their information
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.
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