Hundreds of American Red Cross disaster workers are responding across the south where devastating flooding has forced thousands of people from their homes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas.
ONE TOWN’S STORY
Many communities across the region have been inundated with floodwaters. In some areas, the water is going down and residents are going back home to assess the damage. In Rayville, Louisiana, the Red Cross is helping, making sure residents have food and water as they tackle the huge task of starting the clean-up.
Clifton Winsor has lived by himself in his Rayville home since his wife’s passing in 2013. At 87, he’s lived through a lot, but this is the first time his home has flooded. Now, he looks toward the future. “At my age, it’s hard enough to think about what happens next after something like this,” he said with tears in his eyes, “but facing it alone without my wife makes it even harder.”
Bobby Ray Griffin and Mildred Means took on more than a foot of water in their Rayville, home. They are spending their days removing flood-damaged furniture from their home.
Willie Conner moved into his Rayville home when his oldest daughter was just a baby. More than 40 years later, both of his daughters were at his side to help clean up their flood-damaged family home.
RED CROSS RESPONSE
The Red Cross is opening shelters for those affected, providing meals and distributing relief supplies where it is safe to do so. More than 370 people spent Monday night in 31 Red Cross and community shelters in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. Since the flooding began, the Red Cross has provided more than 1,100 overnight stays in 45 shelters, served nearly 8,000 meals and snacks, and distributed 2,200 relief items including comfort kits and cleaning supplies.
This has been a difficult week for many families and Red Cross disaster mental health workers are helping people cope in the aftermath of many challenging situations. Volunteers are also helping to replace needed items like prescription medications and eyeglasses.
In Louisiana, there were 15 Red Cross and community shelters open overnight with more than 200 residents taking refuge in them. This is the largest sheltering operation for the Red Cross in Louisiana since Hurricane Gustav and Ike in 2008, and Hurricane Isaac in 2012. As many as 12,000 people have been impacted by the flooding across the state with hundreds of residences either destroyed or receiving major damage.
In Mississippi, almost 40 people spent Monday night in 7 Red Cross shelters and hundreds of homes have been damaged by the floodwaters. Floodwaters also swamped several counties along the Gulf Coast in Texas where more than 110 people took refuge in shelters Monday night.
In Arkansas, strong storms damaged homes and downed power lines. Red Cross responders will be helping with shelter, meals, relief supplies and health and mental health services.
HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like flooding and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
About the American Red Cross:
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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.