Red Cross Responds to Midwest Flooding
Rain storms, including remnants of Tropical Storm Erin, have caused persistent flooding throughout parts of the Midwest and southern U.S. This flooding has damaged thousands of homes and businesses, and has claimed at least twenty lives. Local chapters of the Red Cross are offering a variety of services to those affected by this flooding, from sheltering and feeding affected residents and emergency workers, to providing damage assessment and counseling to families as they begin to recover from their losses.
Whether the relief operation is managed through a local chapter or through national headquarters, the Red Cross remains at a constant state of readiness. “The Red Cross, at both the national and local levels, works throughout the year to ensure we are ready to help communities during and following a disaster,” remarked Joe Becker, Senior Vice President of Preparedness and Response for the American Red Cross. “We know that the key to our being able to do our job for the American public is for us to be prepared ahead of time.”
Severe storms have caused raging floods through different regions of the country for several weeks now. Tropical Storm Erin prompted massive flooding in parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Many of these areas were already saturated from the elevated rainfall during previous weeks. As relief operations in Texas and Oklahoma continue, approximately 20 counties in Minnesota, Wisconsin and northeast Iowa are under assault by more recent flooding, much of it along the Mississippi river. Local chapters in Minnesota have quickly refocused their efforts after supporting the rescue and recovery operation following the bridge collapse along I-35W. Red Cross chapters are also providing services to those affected by flooding in northwest Ohio.
As these disasters are in different response and recovery phases, the Red Cross is offering a range of services to support each of these relief efforts:
Chapter workers have opened shelters and distributed thousands of meals and snacks to affected people, rescue workers and those assisting in the relief operation.
More than 30 emergency response vehicles have mobilized across these areas, distributing food and supplies such as clean-up kits to residents as they begin sorting through debris and collecting their personal items.
As the initial sheltering and feeding efforts subside at each of these locations, Red Cross case managers are working with individuals and families to meet their continuing needs. The Red Cross will ensure that these families receive the supplies they need, and will refer them to programs offered by other local nonprofit organizations when necessary.
Trained mental health workers are providing emotional support to individuals who have lost loved ones or are otherwise traumatized by their experience during these floods.
The Red Cross continues to work with local officials to monitor these and other disasters, such as the wildfires in western Montana. As these events continue, the Red Cross urges all families in affected areas to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well site, available at www.redcross.org. Here, they can leave a message for their loved ones letting them know of their well-being.
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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