Across the country, the American Red Cross has been responding to floods, fires and blizzards over the past several weeks, giving families and individuals a safe haven in the face of disaster. Sunday night the Red Cross had seven shelters open in states across the U.S. with more than 140 people. While these smaller disasters do not often make national headlines, for those whose lives have been suddenly uprooted, it is no less devastating.
FLOODING IN TEXAS AND PENNSYLVANIA Over the weekend in southwest Texas, heavy rain caused road closures, residential flooding and evacuations. To assist those affected, the Red Cross opened shelters to provide a safe, dry place for those affected. Sunday night three shelters remained open with 28 people seeking refuge. Central Texas also experienced heavy rain and the local Red Cross chapter stands ready to help affected communities as needed.
Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, the Greater Harrisburg area received nearly eight inches of rain within a 30 hour period over the weekend causing flooding. Approximately 45 roads were closed. Here, the local Red Cross chapter opened a shelter, assigned damage assessment teams and will be distributing clean up supplies for those in need.
For those individuals preparing to clean up as flood waters recede, it is important to follow flood recovery tips to keep themselves and their families safe.
RESIDENTIAL FIRES IN CALIFORNIA In southern California, two shelters remained open Sunday night helping 100 people in the wake of residential fires in Oxnard and Santa Maria. The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year, most of which are home fires.
More than a week after a devastating multi-unit apartment fire displaced more than 90 people in Oxnard, the Red Cross continues to provide shelter, food, and comfort. To help affected families, more than 80 Red Cross volunteers have helped provide more than 400 overnight stays and serve more than 2,000 meals and snacks. The Red Cross will continue to assist these families until long-term sustainable housing accommodations are arranged.
Most recently, in Santa Maria, there was another overnight fire at a residential motel where nearly 70 people were displaced. The Red Cross has opened a shelter and is providing relief and support to those affected.
BLIZZARD IN SOUTH DAKOTA Earlier this month, a massive blizzard hit South Dakota with several feet of snow. The snowfall arrived unseasonably early causing families to hunker down in their homes as the storm hit.
In response, the Red Cross opened a shelter to keep stranded motorists and recent victims of a home fire safe and warm amid blizzard conditions. Since the storm, Red Cross workers have been providing assistance and support to the community, even traveling by snowmobile in the initial hours following the storm. Sunday night one shelter remained open with 14 people.
To locate a shelter, download the free Red Cross Shelter Finder App. In addition, the Red Cross has specific weather and safety mobile apps including the First Aid App, Hurricane App, Tornado App, Wildfire App, Earthquake App, and Team Red Cross Volunteer App. Download these apps directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores today to prepare for disasters tomorrow.