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Rochester Volunteer Deploying to Washington State

Red Cross Flag

American Red Cross volunteer Diana McLaughlin of Rochester will be deploying Friday to the Washington State to assist in the relief efforts as raging wildfires continue to burn out west. McLaughlin will work in Staff Services, helping coordinate the over 100 Red Cross workers who are a part of the response.

The fires burning in the state of Washington are the largest in history, consuming about 600,000 acres so far. Red Cross workers have opened 12 shelters since the fires started, providing more than 750 overnight stays for evacuees. Many more people are visiting the shelters during the day for meals, to get information, or to charge mobile devices.

More than 100 Red Cross workers have provided more than 12,000 meals and snacks, including meals for U.S. military helping fight the fires. The Red Cross distributed hundreds of relief supplies and helped almost 400 people with health services such as replacing prescriptions and lost eyeglasses. Caseworkers are meeting with residents to provide assistance and access to other help.

The American Red Cross is also responding as Tropical Storm Erika heads for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, reaching Florida by Monday with 50 mph winds and several inches of rain. 

On the U.S. Virgin Islands, 56 people spent Wednesday night in several Red Cross supported shelters as Erika neared the region. Red Cross workers in Puerto Rico are ready to respond, with relief supplies set to be distributed where needed. Weather experts expect little change in the storm’s strength as it nears Florida. Parts of the state could see heavy rain, strong winds and high waves along the Atlantic Ocean. Strong winds extend out as much as 105 miles from the center of the storm. The Red Cross across Florida is getting ready to respond as needed, with workers standing by, shelter sites identified and relief supplies ready to distribute.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Ignacio could come close to Hawaii as early as Monday. The storm is already carrying winds as strong as 85 mph and is forecast to get stronger over the next few days. The Red Cross already has supplies on Hawaii because of earlier storms and is watching the situation closely, ready to respond as needed.

HOW YOU CAN HELP People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to hurricanes and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.