The American Red Cross is responding to the unprecedented and ongoing flooding in the Midwest, as well as in states impacted by the recent tornadoes, flooding and blizzards.
The rain has left the middle of the country, but we anticipate the threat of flooding in the region to continue until the middle of January. Weather experts predict the recent storms could lead to record flooding on major rivers, including the Illinois, Meramec, Arkansas and Mississippi waterways and the Red Cross is monitoring river levels in the affected states with state and local officials to respond if needed.
Red Cross disaster workers are on duty across multiple states, opening shelters for those affected, providing meals, distributing comfort kits and clean-up supplies, providing health and mental health services and meeting with those affected to help them plan their next steps. Hundreds of people remain in Red Cross and community shelters in Illinois, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Alabama, Oregon and Arkansas and hundreds of volunteers are working around the clock to help those in our shelters and affected by these storms.
“We need everyone’s support to continue to help people affected by this severe weather, now and in the weeks and months to come,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of disaster operations and logistics for the Red Cross. “Please remember those impacted by these disasters and resolve to help now.”
PLEASE GIVE NOW The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to assist people affected by disasters such as the ongoing flooding, recent tornadoes and winter storms. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
RED CROSS RESPONSE
In Missouri, where rivers continue to rise, Red Cross workers are manning numerous shelters and are feeding residents in shelters and using emergency response vehicles to deliver meals and relief supplies where roads are passable. The Red Cross is working with numerous partners to supply meals and is watching the unfolding situation with state and local officials to ensure people get the help they need.
People living near the Mississippi River in Mississippi are being evacuated and Red Cross caseworkers are working with the affected families to provide help as needed. Flooding is also occurring in Illinois, along with severe winter weather in the northern part of the state. Red Cross workers opened shelters and warming centers to help those impacted and feeding people in the shelters and delivering meals throughout several affected areas.
In Tennessee, Red Cross workers have been on the ground helping people since before Christmas when strong winds, tornadoes and flash flooding occurred. The Red Cross is monitoring the Mississippi River, which could be ten feet above flood stage in mid-January, bringing more damage to as many as nine counties in the state. Red Cross workers are standing by in many counties to provide assistance as the need arises.
Texas residents are still cleaning up after the devastating tornadoes which occurred over the Christmas holiday. Heavy rain is falling in the state and there continues to be a potential for flooding. The Red Cross has 4 shelters and Red Cross workers are providing meals, distributing relief supplies, providing health and mental health services, and working in several multi-agency resource centers to meet with families and help plan their next steps.
HOW TO STAY SAFE
Anyone living in an area where flooding is possible should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information and shelter locations with them. The Emergency App features emergency weather alerts to help keep the user safe, and provides information about what to do in case of floods and the locations of open shelters. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
People living in communities threatened by severe weather should keep informed about weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials. If their neighborhood is prone to flooding, they should be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary. Other flood safety steps include:
Head for higher ground and stay there.
Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
Turn around, don’t drown. If 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.
Keep children out of the water.
Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.