The American Red Cross is monitoring possible severe weather that could affect millions of people in the southern and central Plains this week while continuing to assist residents of the greater Houston area affected by the recent devastating flooding.
One of the problems Red Cross Disaster Mental Health workers are helping with in the Houston metro area is people who have been impacted by disasters twice in just over a year.
Carol Whitlow, an Ithaca-based Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is now on virtual deployment providing mental health services by phone to residents in flood-affected areas. She is the second volunteer from the Southern Tier Chapter who is supporting relief efforts, joining Peter Zelno of Vestal who is in Texas driving an Emergency Response Vehicle.
A total of eight volunteers from the Western and Central New York Region are currently supporting those efforts.
From the Western New York Chapter, Tom Daley from Tonawanda deployed to serve as a client casework supervisor, and Jim Collingwood of Amherst is serving as a logistics supervisor. From the Central New York Chapter, Barbara Stowe-Ranieri of Syracuse has been deployed to Texas to assist with health services. Cortland resident Frank VanSickle is working from the Cortland office training new virtual call caseworkers. Two volunteers from the Greater Rochester Chapter are assisting with flood relief. Sarah Perkins of Pittsford is working with disaster assessment, and Shortsville resident Leslee Rice is working from home as a call agent.
Several shelters remain open in the Houston area. Red Cross teams are meeting with those affected, providing health and mental health services, meeting with people to plan their recovery as well as helping with housing and making sure people with disabilities get the help they need.
Working with the Southern Baptist Convention, the Red Cross has provided almost 29,000 meals and snacks for people in the Houston area so far and now serving about 5,000 hot meals every day. Food is being served in shelters and distributed throughout affected neighborhoods by 21 Red Cross emergency response vehicles. Food is also being distributed to folks who are sheltering in their homes. The Red Cross has also handed out thousands of clean-up kits and cleaning items.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service reports portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas and Nebraska face an enhanced risk of severe weather throughout this week, including heavy rain, damaging winds, large hail and possible tornadoes. The Red Cross is monitoring the situation and putting staff and relief supplies on stand-by in case they are needed.
HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross needs the public’s help now. They can give to Red Cross Disaster Relief to support disasters big and small by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.