Severe weather is still a major problem across most of the country. The American Red Cross maintains a strong presence and lends a hand to those affected.
Tornadoes and straight-line winds damaged homes in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Heavy rains have caused flooding in Indiana and South Dakota. People are still recovering from earlier flooding in West Virginia. And the wildfire near Flagstaff, Arizona has now consumed about 14,000 acres and is only 20 percent contained.
- Tornadoes – Red Cross workers in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin are providing food and shelter to those affected by the winds.
- Flooding – Chapters in Indiana and South Dakota are determining shelter needs. In Indiana, the Red Cross provided overnight accommodations for individuals with health needs. And in West Virginia, flooding which occurred two weeks ago continues to affect people’s lives.
- Wildfires – Red Cross workers in Arizona are providing shelter to those who had to leave their homes due to the fires. Partnering with the Salvation Army, Red Cross volunteers are providing three meals a day.
In Minnesota, the Red Cross opened four shelters after tornadoes swept across the area, and is currently feeding in several communities. Volunteers are also providing emotional support.
In Arizona, third generation Red Cross volunteer Michele Maki is helping neighbors who had to leave their homes when the wildfire threatened. She has seen Red Cross volunteers in action during many tragedies and it hits close to her heart. She commented, “For me, giving back is so important. You get more than you give. Sometimes, a hug may be all that they need at that time, and understanding.”
Red Cross volunteer Jim Sheely traveled from North Carolina to West Virginia to help people affected by the early June flooding. He reported that the Red Cross is still providing shelter and meals because there are few restaurants and motels in remote areas.
“When there is a heavy rain, the runoff finds new places to escape that aren’t friendly to the residents of the off-the-road-spots where people have always lived,” Sheely said. “The number of people affected jumps around as new populations, who were cut off by washouts, are discovered by our Red Cross disaster assessment workers.”
Volunteers are on the ground in Wisconsin, offering families food, water and a place to sleep. They are also distributing supplies to assist residents as they clean and repair their homes.
According to FEMA, the severe weather will continue. In the Midwest, heavy rain and possible flash floods are predicted. Severe thunderstorms and damaging winds are headed for the northeast and the Red Cross will be ready to help in these areas if needed.
There are things people can do to be ready for emergencies, whether natural disasters or otherwise. Check out more information on how to be Red Cross Ready, and what to do in different disaster situations,