In the devastating aftermath of the Colorado flash floods, the American Red Cross is supporting affected residents, providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort for those families whose homes remain inaccessible, as well as those families who are returning to damaged homes and communities.
THE RED CROSS RESPONSE Tuesday night, as many as 400 people stayed in 14 shelters in Colorado. Working with community partners, the Red Cross has served more than 10,700 meals and snacks. Red Cross workers have also provided more than 2,400 health and mental health services including emotional support and replacing prescriptions, medications, and eyeglasses.
On the ground, more than 640 trained Red Cross disaster workers are supporting shelters, evacuation centers and relief centers. In addition, the Red Cross has mobilized more than 20 food trucks and more than ten truck loads of relief supplies including personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, rakes, tarps, shovels, flashlights, gloves, coolers and insect repellant to help people get back on their feet.
The Red Cross continues to work closely with local emergency management officials and the Colorado National Guard to help ensure people get the help they need. While access to some communities is difficult due to flood waters and damaged roads, as areas re-open, the Red Cross will be there to assess the damage, distribute clean up supplies and support a recovery effort that will take weeks and months.
RESCUED RESIDENTS FIND SHELTER In Evans, Co., Eldin and Audrey Myer, married 53 years and lifelong residents, lost their home in the floodwaters. Evacuated by boat, they watched their home surrounded by turbulent water filled with trees, barrels, tires and other debris as they traveled to safety.
“We have lost everything including our pets, we just had no time to get anything except Eldin’s cane and my purse,” said Eldin.
Eldin and Audrey found shelter at one of the many Red Cross shelters opened across Colorado. There, blankets, cots, food, comfort and emotional support are available, as well as Red Cross Health Services volunteers who have continued to monitor the medication needs and blood pressure of the couple.
“When I close my eyes, I see water, I hear water,” said Audrey with tears in her eyes. “When you have lost everything, it is so great to come to the Red Cross shelter. There is a nurse, personal items, shampoo and toiletries. We are so grateful.”
FROM ONE DISASTER TO ANOTHER Two years ago during the Tuscaloosa, Ala. tornadoes, Caroline McLowhorn thought she had seen it all. Three of her friends died in the tornado, and she wanted to start a new chapter for her husband Jason Burkart and two daughters Jasmine and Jo-Jo.
Jason traveled to Longmont, Colo. first where he found a beautiful community and plenty of work. Driving cross country last week, his pregnant wife and two kids made the trip to join him. They eventually made it … Just a few short days before the flood.
When their apartment flooded, the family moved into a hotel. After six days and a depleted bank account, they turned to the Red Cross for shelter, food and support. Jasmine, age 12, made fast friends with the other young girls in the shelter, and everyone doted on one year old Jo-Jo.
Late Monday night, the family found free temporary housing for the next two weeks giving them a safe place to stay as they figure out their next steps.
HOW TO HELP If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.