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Red Cross Ready to Help Southwest U.S. Residents

Volunteer observes flooding
People can download Red Cross apps to have safety information at their fingertips.

The National Weather Service predicts a high risk for flash floods in parts of Arizona and New Mexico through tonight due to the remnants of what was Hurricane Odile moving through the area and the American Red Cross is standing by to help if needed.

The heaviest rain is expected today in southeast Arizona, southern New Mexico and west Texas, which could receive as much as six inches of rain. The rain is expected to move into eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle by Saturday. The rain could bring flash flooding and mudslides to the region.

The Red Cross is urging residents to get prepared and is monitoring the storm. Shelters have been identified and shelter supplies moved into place with disaster workers standing by to help if needed.

MEXICO RESPONSE Odile hit the Baja Peninsula earlier this week, impacting those who live in its path and at least 15,000 tourists who were vacationing. Anyone trying to locate or check in on a U.S. citizen in Baja can contact the State Department’s Overseas Citizen Services at 1-888-407-4747.

The storm has left more than 80 percent of the population in Los Cabos and La Paz without electrical power, damaged roadways and closed ports. The Mexican Red Cross has opened collection centers in several states to help those affected and sent the first shipment of 2,000 food parcels to the city of Los Cabos to support people impacted by the storm.

There are about 500 disaster workers who have come from all over Mexico to help. The volunteers, 120 of whom are paramedics, are providing basic medical check-ups and delivering food to people housed in shelters.

The members of the Mexican Red Cross participating in the response are specialists in collapsed structures, damage evaluations, pre-hospital care, logistics support in shelters and collection centers. The Mexican Red Cross is working closely with federal authorities, Civil Protection, the Governors Secretariat, the Mexican Marines and Army, to deliver the aid to the people affected as quickly as possible. Another storm, Hurricane Polo, is threatening the Mexican state of Guerrero, where at least 120 Mexican Red Cross volunteers are prepositioned to act if needed.

RED CROSS APPS People in the path of this storm can download Red Cross apps to have safety information at their fingertips. The hurricane app provides alerts and warnings in the United States and its territories, and the “I’m safe” feature works in any location with mobile phone service. The flood app provides information on how to prepare for flooding and all that comes with it.

FLOOD SAFETY If flooding is a possibility, people should listen to their local media for flood warnings and be prepared to evacuate quickly. If a flood or flash flood warning is issued for someone’s neighborhood, they should head for higher ground and stay there.

  • People should stay away from floodwaters. Whether walking or driving, if someone comes across flowing water, they should turn around and go the other way.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood danger.
  • WILDFIRES STILL BURNING Meanwhile, about 4,000 people are still out of their homes in California and Oregon due to massive wildfires. Almost 70 people spent Wednesday night in Red Cross shelters in California and Oregon where Red Cross Disaster Services workers also provided meals and health and mental health services to support people impacted by the mandatory evacuation orders.

    WILDFIRE SAFETY The Red Cross has steps residents should take if their community is threatened by these fires. They should make sure the entrance to their driveway and house number are clearly marked. Other safety steps include the following:

  • If a fire is burning in the area, be ready to evacuate quickly.
  • Back the car into the garage or park it out in the open facing the direction you need to go to escape.
  • If you have pets, keep them in one room so you know where they area if you have to evacuate.
  • People can use the Wildfire App to find locations of open Red Cross shelters and learn how to help protect themselves and their property.

    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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