The American Red Cross is helping those affected by wildfires in Colorado and across the south where flames have destroyed thousands of acres and threatened hundreds of homes.
In Georgia, more than 100 residents turned to Red Cross shelters for a safe place to stay in Bacon, Coffee, Clinch and Appling Counties where wildfires destroyed hundreds of acres, threatened homes and closed highways. The Red Cross also opened shelters in Okaloosa and Lake Counties in Florida and Onslow County in North Carolina. In Colorado, the Red Cross provided support as thousands of residents in Douglas County evacuated their homes due to a wildfire in the area. The Red Cross provided mass care for shelter residents in all four states, and is providing food and drinks for hundreds of emergency responders.
Gusty winds and low humidity continue to prompt red flag warnings for critical fire risks from Colorado to Texas. The Red Cross has steps for people to follow to stay safe if a wildfire threatens.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts almost half of the country has an above-average risk of flooding in the next few weeks. Rivers in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin continue to rise due to recent snowmelt and ongoing precipitation.
According to NOAA, the highest spring flood risk includes the Red River which forms the state line between eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. As people in that area prepare for potential flooding, the Red Cross is providing help where needed. Major flooding hit the area in 1997 after the Red River overflowed its banks.
The Red Cross already has ten disaster vehicles in the area providing food and drinks for the volunteer crews who have filled more than four million sandbags to fight the flood waters. More than 12,200 meals and approximately 50,900 snacks have been provided to those manning the sandbag operations.
Red Cross volunteers in Fargo are prepared to provide mass care feeding and mental health services as efforts are coordinated with local officials and community partners to best serve those in need. Volunteers have arrived from across the country to assist in the flood operation. Red Cross emergency shelters are on stand-by in several communities throughout the area in case flood waters rise suddenly.
The Red Cross is urging residents to follow instructions provided by local officials and to evacuate if told to do so. If someone does have to leave their home, they should bring essentials such as clothing, bedding, medications, medical equipment, toiletries, special items needed for children, important papers and pets and pet supplies.
If a community is threatened with flooding, the Red Cross has steps people can follow on its web site to keep themselves and loved ones safe.
While the Red Cross responds to help the people of Japan and continues to support the residents of Haiti, disaster workers in the United States respond to as many as 200 disasters a day. If you would like to help, you can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS, or text REDCROSS to 90999. You can also mail your contribution to your local chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.