Although gone from the headlines, wildfires, floods and tornadoes are still affecting people’s lives across the country. The American Red Cross remains in areas where help is still needed.
More than 500 people continue to look to the Red Cross for shelter, food and emotional support In Massachusetts, Missouri and Minnesota, as many as 400 people are in shelters after this spring’s deadly tornadoes destroyed their communities. Almost 70 residents are still in shelters in Nebraska, Iowa, Montana and South Dakota as swollen rivers in those states overtake people’s homes. And in Des Moines, 30 residents spent Wednesday night in a Red Cross shelter after a huge fire there destroyed their apartments.
In Oklahoma, the Red Cross remains busy responding to fire calls following the May 24 tornadoes in that area. In just 14 days, Red Cross teams responded to apartment fires, wildfires and house fires, providing beverages, snacks and meals to more than 500 first responders fighting the fires.
The wildfire in Arizona and New Mexico has destroyed almost half a million acres. Another fire in Colorado is forcing people to evacuate from their homes. In Florida, more than 50 wildfires are burning hundreds of acres across the state. The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for conditions favorable to lead to wildfires in Texas and Alabama. In many areas, the Red Cross is providing shelter, meals and water for evacuees as well as for those battling the flames.
The clean-up after the recent flooding continues and the Red Cross is part of that effort. Across Mississippi where river flooding has lasted for weeks, the Red Cross is distributing supplies such as water, snacks, juice, sunscreen, insect repellant and cleaning items like bleach, shovels, trash bags and rakes. Meals are being distributed from emergency response vehicles in areas where residents have been allowed to return home.
In Montana, where flooding affected many communities, the Red Cross continues to deliver relief supplies in places like Sun River and Cascade County where people have returned home, while pre-positioning cleaning items for when families begin the recovery near Phillipsburg, Drummond and Deer Lodge. In Lewis and Clark County, the Red Cross is going door-to-door to deliver cleaning supplies to families in the greater Helena area. And mental health and health service workers, as well as caseworkers continue to help those affected and provide additional recovery resources.
The devastating spring weather, which brought deadly tornadoes, historic floods and dangerous wildfires to the United States, has affected more than half of the country. Since the end of March, the Red Cross has initiated 42 disaster relief operations in 29 states. More than 12,000 Red Cross workers have served millions of meals and snacks, provided tens of thousands of overnight stays in shelters, and distributed more than a million relief items like toothbrushes and shampoo, tarps, coolers, rakes and other cleanup supplies
The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS; people can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.