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Families Look To Red Cross For Help After Losing Everything in PA Flooding


Shawn Norris spent Wednesday night in an American Red Cross shelter near Wilkes-Barre, Pa. after he and his family lost everything in the devastating flooding which inundated central and northeastern Pennsylvania three weeks ago.

Shawn shared a home with his mother, grandmother and great aunt on land situated between the Susquehanna River and Shickshinny Creek. Both waterways overflowed their banks, covering the Norris home with water and mud. The family lost everything. “I want my mother to have some shoes,” Shawn said. Her shoes were so waterlogged they burst at the seams. “I am so happy to have a roof over our heads and that everyone is safe,” he said, expressing his gratitude to the Red Cross for providing his family with a safe place to stay.

Angela Sims and her one-year-old son Ayden have also spent the last three weeks in a Red Cross shelter near Wilkes-Barre. Flood waters invaded their home which has now been condemned. “I am so grateful for the Red Cross. Without them I don’t know where we would be,” she said. “We lost everything. The only things we salvaged were some of Ayden’s toys and a few clothes. I don’t know where we will go when the shelter closes.”

In Pennsylvania, the Red Cross has provided more than 7,790 overnight stays in 69 shelters since the onset of the flooding. Last night 60 people spent the night in the four shelters still operating as part of the flood relief operation. The Red Cross sent 98 emergency response vehicles into the state and more than 1,600 Red Cross workers traveled to Pennsylvania, where they have served more than 379,500 meals and snacks and distributed more than 120,000 clean-up and comfort kits.

Shawn Norris has spent the last three weeks in a Red Cross shelter in Pennsylvania after flooding destroyed his family’s home. Angela Sims and her son Ayden lost everything when flood waters invaded their Pennsylvania home.

The Red Cross also has shelters open in New York, where 42 people spent Wednesday night, and in North Dakota, where more than 140 people continue to look to the Red Cross for shelter months after floodwaters covered their Minot neighborhoods.

Fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes have led to 93 Red Cross disaster relief operations over the last six months in 42 different states and territories. In response to these disasters, the Red Cross has:

  • Opened nearly 900 shelters and provided 121,000 overnight stays.
  • Served more than 6.3 million meals and snacks.
  • Handed out more than 2.5 million relief items.
  • Provided more than 128,000 health and mental health consultations.
  • Opened 15,000 cases to help people recover.
  • Deployed 24,000 trained disaster workers, of which 89 percent were volunteers.

The Red Cross response to these disasters will cost millions of dollars. If you would like to help, you can call 1-800-REDCROSS, visit www.redcross.org, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.