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American Red Cross El Paso Supporting Emergency Shelter

EL PASO, TX – September 12, 2013 – Several residents in Socorro were evacuated this morning due to flash flooding, and an emergency shelter is open at the Socorro Community Center, 960 Rio Vista Road. The American Red Cross El Paso is supporting the shelter with workers, cots, blankets and other supplies to help those needing assistance. The Salvation Army is preparing meals for those who will need food during this flooding emergency. An additional shelter is opening at San Elizario High School, 13981 Socorro Road, and the Red Cross will be supporting that location as needed. Additional shelter locations are being considered as rain continues throughout the area.

“Our thoughts are with those who have already suffered damages from these flash floods, and we hope to provide at least a little comfort and a safe, dry place for families to stay until the rain stops and the water recedes,” said Mark Matthys, Executive Director, American Red Cross El Paso.

American Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safe when floods threaten. “It’s difficult to imagine flooding in the desert, but besides fires, flash flooding is the greatest disaster risk we face,” said Matthys. “A few inches of rain in a few hours can force people to flee their homes and leave them stranded.”

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for floods by:

  • Creating and practicing a Flood Plan: Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where you would meet and who you would contact in case of flooding. Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit. Be prepared to evacuate your family and pets at a moment’s notice. Listen to area radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress.
  • Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents and other emergency items for the whole family.
  • Heeding Flood Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information. A flood WATCH means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area. A food WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. When a flood or flash flood warning in issued for you area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Relocating During Flood Warnings: Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, stop, turn around and go another way. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
  • For more information on flood preparedness, contact the El Paso Area Chapter of the American Red Cross at 915-592-0208, visit or or call 1-800 RED CROSS. We urge you to share these Red Cross flood preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at