On Oct. 15, flash flooding sent water, mud and rocks rushing across the Interstate 5 and State Highway 58 in Northern L.A. County stranding hundreds of motorists and closing the freeways. Mudslides also devastated dozens of residences in Palmdale, Lancaster, Lake Hughes, Leona Valley, and the Elizabeth Lake areas of the Antelope Valley.
In response to this “1,000-year rain event,” the Red Cross L.A. Region opened two shelters and provided support at two additional shelters, including one for more than 100 stranded school children and teachers returning home from a Long Beach Aquarium field trip.
The Red Cross opened shelters at Marie Kerr Recreation Center in Palmdale and Mojave High School in Mojave. Red Cross supplies were provided to shelters at the First Southern Baptist Church of Mojave and the Palmdale Learning Center, which housed the school children over night.
Volunteer Sam Frankl, acting shelter manager at the Mojave High shelter, recounts: “We received approximately 30 tourists from France who were stuck by the mudslides. After about a 10-hour wait to be rescued they were brought to the shelter. These folks only spoke French; their suitcases were caked with mud, and they were dazed and confused to say the least. I greeted each one of them with a cheery ‘bonjour,’ and their tired expression immediately changed. They were pleased and reassured to hear their native language. I am proud to have been able to make our clients feel welcome on behalf of the American Red Cross.”
Roads have reopened and shelter populations have dispersed but volunteers continue to distribute hundreds of meals, clean-up kits, blankets, water, and other supplies.
Thank you to all Red Cross volunteers who helped with these efforts and to all of our community partners.
“I greeted each one of them (French tourists) with a cheery ‘bonjour,’ and their tired expression immediately changed.” Sam Frankl