Flooding, Wildfires: Evacuees Tell Their Stories
The Butler family was forced to leave their home due to the flooding in West Virginia. The family is staying at the Red Cross shelter in Charleston. Red Cross Photo by Daniel Cima.
Brian Polston, Kernville Elementary School principal, helps Doslyn Epps on the bus as she heads of for a special day of activities. She and her family were forced from their home by one of the wildfires in California. Red Cross Photo by H.T. Linke.
Heather Shafer and her one-year-old daughter Sarah are staying at the Red Cross shelter in Charleston, West Virginia, after their home was flooded. Red Cross Photo by Daniel Cima.
Dalton Nazario puts away assistance items, including a first aid kit that his family received. His home was flooded in White Sulfur Springs. Red Cross Photo by Daniel Cima.
This house in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia received heavy damage when the Howard Creek overflowed its banks after the storm. Red Cross Photo by Daniel Cima.
Hundreds of American Red Cross volunteers are helping people affected by devastating and historic flooding in West Virginia and fast-moving wildfires in California, which collectively have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands of residents to seek shelter elsewhere.
HOW TO HELP These are large and complex relief responses and the Red Cross needs the public’s support now to help people like eight-year-old Doslyn Epps, who had to evacuate with her family when the wildfires in California threatened her home in Walker Basin. The family has been staying at the Red Cross shelter in Kernville since June 26. The fire burned over 45,000 acres in four days and destroyed as many as 200 homes. The Epps family is still not sure if their home is still standing, but Doslyn’s father, Dana, expressed his thanks for the support from the Red Cross. “We are so grateful for the Red Cross being here to help,” he said. Doslyn is especially thankful to the Kernville Union School District which has scheduled their summer daily activities to accommodate children from the shelter. Doslyn and other kids were able to get away from the shelter for a few hours and have a day of fun and activities.
In West Virginia, Randall and Tianna Butler recently moved into an upstairs apartment with their two-year-old daughter, Skyler. Tianna is 8 months pregnant. “Last Thursday the rains started. It came up really fast. When we saw the hillside crumble from the water we called 911, who told us it was safer to stay in the top part of the house rather than risk moving outdoors with all the flooding going on”, Butler said. His wife started to have contractions and she and little Skyler were rescued at 12:30 in the morning. Dad Randall joined them later. “We really appreciate what the Red Cross has done,” Butler said. “I never had any encounter with the Red Cross nor do I know anyone who has dealt with them, but everything they did has been top-notch; they are really professional.”
DONATE NOW Those who would like to help the Red Cross support people affected by disasters like flooding, wildfires and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
While we appreciate the good intentions of people who want to donate material items, the Red Cross does not have the infrastructure to support the vetting and distribution of these items during a disaster response. Therefore, financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most. For those who still wish to donate clothes or household items, the Red Cross has partnered with:
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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.