The American Red Cross is helping at least 4,700 people in dozens of emergency shelters in Louisiana after unprecedented flooding has left 15 rivers in record flood stage. The Chicago & Northern Illinois chapter today deployed five volunteers, with more preparing to head down South in the next few days to aid disaster relief efforts. To schedule an interview with a local Red Cross volunteer deployed to Louisiana contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-907-0520.
Two local volunteers are driving a Red Cross emergency response vehicle from Chicago to Louisiana, which will be used to help deliver food, water and other relief supplies to people affected by the disaster. Three more are in route to support shelters and feeding operations, as well as mental health services, with additional local volunteers preparing to leave this week.
“This is an extremely chaotic situation right now, with life-threatening flood waters, power outages and road closures complicating relief efforts – as many local volunteers have also been directly affected by the flooding,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “This is by far our largest sheltering effort in Louisiana since Hurricane Isaac, and the bulk of this staggering devastation is in areas that typically don’t experience flooding. The Red Cross is mobilizing a massive relief effort which could be our largest since Hurricane Sandy.”
Thousands of people have been forced from their homes with little but the clothes on their backs. Red Cross disaster volunteers are opening shelters, providing meals and comfort. Additional volunteers, relief supplies and emergency response vehicles are moving toward Louisiana now to bolster response efforts.
“Our work is just beginning, and we will be on the ground for weeks helping people in Louisiana pick up the pieces,” continued Kieserman. “Entire families have lost their homes and everything they own, please join the Red Cross in supporting Louisiana by making a much needed financial donation today.”
Flooding is expected to continue for several days, and once waters recede it will take some time to fully uncover the extent of the devastation. The Red Cross will be working closely partners in the days ahead to ensure people receive the help they need as quickly as possible. Flooding is also threatening communities in Mississippi, where Red Cross volunteers provided safe refuge to nearly 70 people Saturday night.
FLOODING SAFETY INFORMATION The Red Cross has steps people should follow to remain safe:
1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and heed evacuation orders when given. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
2. Stay away from floodwaters.
3. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
4. Keep children out of the water. 5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Boise Paper; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx Corporation; The Home Depot Foundation; Humble Bundle; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Merck Foundation; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP℠ Vision care for life; and Walmart and the Walmart Foundation.
ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Bank of America; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Grainger; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; Medtronic; Meijer; Mondelēz International Foundation; National Grid; PepsiCo Foundation; Prudential Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Sprint; Sunoco; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; United Technologies Corporation; Visa; Wawa; and Wells Fargo.
Disaster Responder Program members are: Alcoa; Almost Family; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; Ball Foundation; BNY Mellon; CarMax; The Clorox Company; Cox Automotive; DTE Energy Foundation; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; General Motors Foundation; Harbor Freight Tools; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; Hi-Rez Studios; IBM Corporation; IKEA; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; Interstate All Battery Center; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; MetLife Foundation; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; New Balance Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; PSEG Foundation; PuroClean Disaster Recovery; Red Heart Yarns; ScriptRelief; Sealed Air; Servpro Industries, Inc.; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; T O Y O T A; U.S. Bank; and U-Haul International.
About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at redcross.org/il/chicago or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.