A large part of the country faces the risk of heavy rains over the next few days even as people struggle to recover from the devastating flooding of the last several weeks. The American Red Cross continues to help those affected by the ongoing storms with food, shelter, relief supplies and support.
More than 115 people spent Sunday night in Red Cross shelters in Texas and Alaska due to flooding and wildfires. Red Cross workers are also responding in Louisiana after flooding there. Since early May, more than 2,300 Red Cross workers have been helping people in Texas and Louisiana. In the two states, the Red Cross has opened numerous shelters, served more than 278,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 142,000 relief items and provided nearly 9,500 basic health and mental health services.
CALLS TEXAS SHELTER HOME In Liberty, Texas, the Chambers family has been calling the Red Cross shelter at the Community Center home for several weeks. The shelter has been open since early May due to flooding from the Trinity River. Thousands of families in Texas have been affected by the flooding.
The Chambers family, Nathan and Tiffany and their daughters, Courtney and McKenzie, have been staying at the shelter for several weeks. They are discussing their recovery plan with Red Cross caseworkers. The caseworkers help residents learn more about critical resources, helpful checklists, and phone numbers that could assist them in getting back on their feet. “We’re holding up,” Tammy said, “and we’re grateful for so much. Our situation might be worse without the shelter.”
At the shelter, there are meals, snacks, water and shower facilities. Red Cross workers are providing health services such as replacing lost eyeglasses and medications, and providing emotional support to those affected. Trained Red Cross workers also meet one-on-one with people to help them plan their recovery. Working in coordination with local community partners, these efforts are critical to ensuring that people have what they need to get their lives back to the way it was before the disaster.
HELP FROM PUERTO RICO Sandra Camacho is a Red Cross worker from Puerto Rico who traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana, to help during the recent storms. “When the call came, I felt proud to come and serve,” she said, holding back tears as she related how it feels to help people in need, especially in another country.
“I was a Red Cross volunteer for ten years and about a year ago my chapter hired me as a manager,” Camacho reported. “I love what I do in Puerto Rico for the Red Cross. It is my passion. And, when I heard the Red Cross in Shreveport, Louisiana was in need of a casework manager, I jumped at the chance.”
“So many people came up to me in the airport and saw my Red Cross Puerto Rico vest and thanked me for coming all this way to help in Louisiana,” she said. “But you know what? The blessing is mine. I truly mean this. Americans, you are so generous and so giving! It is an honor to serve with you.”
EMERGENCY APP People in the path of the storms and fires should download the Red Cross Emergency App for real time access to weather alerts, preparedness information, safety tips and shelter locations. The app provides expert advice on what to do during floods, tornadoes, wildfires and other disasters. The app also provides lifesaving information on emergency first aid for various situations such as what to do for heart attacks, heat-related emergencies and includes water safety tips. Pre-loaded content ensures that guidance from Red Cross experts is available anytime, anywhere – even without mobile connectivity. The Emergency App is available for free in app stores for smartphones and tablets and can also be found by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.
HOW YOU CAN HELP People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief 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. This includes the recent severe weather and nearly 70,000 other disasters we handle every year around the country.