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Red Cross Helps People in Washington Cope after Mudslide

Washington Mudslide

Oso, Washington resident Lawrence “Larry” Taylor talks with the Red Cross about his experience during the landslide that devastated his community.

Once in a while we just need a parachute. The Red Cross is that parachute.

As people living near the tragic mudslide in Washington wait for word about their loved ones, the American Red Cross is there with a place to stay, food and emotional comfort during a very trying time.

RED CROSS SUPPORT Since the landslide nearly a week ago, the Red Cross has mobilized four response vehicles and nearly 300 trained workers. These workers have served thousands of meals and snacks, handed out dozens of comfort kits and provided hundreds of mental health or health-related contacts

The shelters in Arlington and Darrington have provided more than 100 overnight stays and are also a place where hundreds stop by to get information, meals and services from mental health staff. Working with local organizations and volunteers from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, Red Cross emergency vehicles are delivering food to emergency responders at the site of the mudslide.

Red Cross mental health workers are caring for the families as well as helping first responders and workers who are also impacted by the tragedy. Health services volunteers are providing services in the shelters as well as reaching out to the families of the injured and making home visits if needed.

ONE MAN’S STORY Some residents living near the mudslide had only seconds to flee. Larry Taylor described what happened to him during a visit to a Red Cross shelter.

Taylor is an ex-marine, a graduate of the University of Washington and a longtime volunteer with different causes within his community. He was just getting ready to leave his house on Saturday morning and head to Arlington when he heard what he described as a “snap, crackle and pop.” The next thing he knew, water was surrounding his home and he had just moments to grab a few items before he fled to safety.

It took a while before Taylor realized what had happened to this small community and how the landslide missed his home by what he described as “nothing more than a baseball’s throw”. His house, unlike many of his neighbors, is still standing but sustained significant water damage.

He is not sure why he was spared and he doesn’t yet know what his long term plans are, but he knows he will be okay. He has a place to stay but it is a bit empty. The Red Cross has provided Taylor with financial assistance for basic items such as bedding and clothing.

“Once in a while we just need a parachute,” Taylor said. “The Red Cross is that parachute.”

The Red Cross will be in Washington in the weeks and months to come to support Oso residents.

Red Cross caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with people to create recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate help from other agencies. In some situations, the Red Cross may also provide direct financial support to people who need extra help.

WHAT YOU CAN DO The best way to help is through a financial donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Right now, the Red Cross has the supplies and volunteers that it needs to respond but financial donations allow the Red Cross to pay for the full range of help this community needs.

Donations to Red Cross Disaster Relief allowed us to respond immediately to this landslide and the full range of needs it created, including mental health assistance for families, food and shelter and support for first responders. Disaster Relief donations are being used to provide help right now to people in need.

You can click, text or call to donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief to help people affected by disasters big and small.

  • Donations will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. This includes the Oso landslide and nearly 70,000 other disasters we handle every year around the country.
  • Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Many times, people simply want to do something after a tragedy like this, and there are steps that people can take to better prepare themselves and their families for emergencies:

  • Register for a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED course so that you can be better prepared to help in future emergencies.
  • Download the free Red Cross First Aid App which puts free and simple lifesaving information in the hands of smart phone and tablet users. The app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
  • About the Annual Disaster Giving Program

    The Red Cross is able to respond immediately to help those affected by this and other disasters through the support of the corporate members of the Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). Their generous investments enable the Red Cross to be ready to provide assistance whenever and wherever disasters occur. ADGP members include:

    Wells Fargo; WellPoint Foundation; Walmart; VSP℠ Vision care for life; US Airways; UPS; University of Phoenix; United Technologies Corporation; United; The TJX Companies, Inc.; The Home Depot Foundation; TD Ameritrade; Target; State Farm; Sprint; Southwest Airlines; Samsung; PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Nationwide Insurance Foundation; National Grid; Mondelēz International Foundation; Merck & Co., Inc.; Meijer; Medtronic; Mazda North American Operations; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Kraft Foods Group Foundation; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; Johnson Controls; John Deere Foundation; Humble Bundle; Hewlett-Packard Company Foundation; H-E-B; Grainger; GE Foundation; FedEx Corporation; Edison International; eBay Inc., Dr Pepper Snapple Group; Disney; Discover; Dell Inc.; Darden Restaurants Foundation; Costco Wholesale Corporation; ConAgra Foods Foundation; Community Safety Foundation, funded by CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer; The Clorox Company; Citi Foundation; Cisco Foundation; CHS Foundation; Caterpillar Inc.; BNY Mellon; Bank of America; AT&T; Aon; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; American Express; Altria Group and 3M.

    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.

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