The American Red Cross is helping people in and around Austin, Texas where heavy rains late last week caused devastating flooding.
The American Red Cross of Central Texas is working around the clock to help people affected by the Halloween floods, providing shelter and food and distributing cleaning items and comfort kits as residents begin the massive flood clean-up. Local officials report the flooding affected as many as 1,300 homes in Austin and Travis County. Red Cross disaster workers will continue conducting damage assessment this week, while also working closely with partner agencies at the Flood Assistance Center to connect families with vital relief resources.
Since last week more than 160 people have sought refuge in Red Cross shelters and workers have provided more than 31,000 meals and snacks.
“We have made great strides in the disaster response, but there is still so much work to be done,” said Marty McKellips, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross of Central Texas. “Our focus now is to finish the damage assessment so we can move from response into recovery. This is a resilient community, and it will take a partnership between Red Cross and many other agencies and organizations to begin the recovery process. We will be here to provide assistance as long as the recovery process takes.”
RESCUER NEEDED RESCUING When Audey Friar went to bed the night before Halloween, he couldn’t have imagined what would happen the following morning. While he slept, the rain began. As he was getting ready for work, the creek behind his neighborhood began to swell.
“The water came in quick,” Friar said. “My neighbors were calling for help from the rooftops, so I got in my boat to row over to them. Next thing I knew, the current was so strong I was being washed down the street. I waited in the boat for hours for rescue.” After being rescued by firefighters, Friar visited the nearby Red Cross shelter, where he has been taking hot showers and picking up clean-up supplies. With the help of friends and neighbors, he is beginning to rebuild.
DELIVERING MORE THAN MEALS Red Cross worker Beverly Dull joined the flood response efforts in central Texas on day one. A long-time disaster volunteer, she knows that she is delivering more than just hot meals when she visits the hardest hit neighborhoods in the Red Cross emergency response vehicle.
“I noticed a woman wheezing really bad,” she reported. “And I knew right away she was having an asthma attack.” As a volunteer firefighter in Waco, Texas, Dull’s training kicked in. “I held her against my knee while my fellow volunteer got the paramedics, who treated her right away.”
Dull understands what it means to need help; she experienced a personal disaster when her home burned nearly 20 years ago and the Red Cross was there. Now Beverly is returning that same tender care, “I’m a hugger” said Dull. “I make sure everyone gets a hug when they need it the most.”
HOW TO HELP You can help people affected by disasters like floods, tornadoes and other crises by making a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.