Red Cross Work in Louisiana Just Beginning; Donations needed; Relief could cost at least $30 million
Tenisha Longmire keeps a watchful eye over her 2 year old, Derrick, in a Red Cross shelter in Baton Rouge. Red Cross Photo by Nicholas Small
4,000 Still in Shelters; Others Return Home to Devastation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 19, 2016 — A week after devastating flooding hit Louisiana, the American Red Cross continues to provide shelter, food and comfort to thousands of people impacted by the massive disaster and will be there in the weeks and months to come as residents recover.
HOW TO HELP The flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy. Early estimates predict the massive Red Cross relief effort in Louisiana could cost at least $30 million – and this number may grow as more is learned about the scope and magnitude of the devastation.
The Red Cross urgently needs the public to support relief efforts in Louisiana by making a financial donation today. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recovery from these disasters.
“Our volunteers are tirelessly working around the clock to help thousands of people in Louisiana,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Right now we are concentrating on providing food, shelter and relief supplies. But with thousands of homes affected, our work is just getting started. We’ll be there for the long run to help people recover from this historic disaster.”
ONE FAMILY’S STORY
Tenisha Longmire and her three young children are safe in a Red Cross shelter in Baton Rouge. But her journey to safety was frightening. After running to the store to stock up on supplies, Longmire couldn’t get home to her children because of the flooding. Her mother took the kids in, but Longmire couldn’t get to them. She slept in her car for several days until she reunited with her family. Then the family looked for a place to stay, but some places said they had no room. “I felt ashamed,” Longmire said. “But you folks…the Red Cross…you welcomed us….me…my kids. You folks have been so wonderful. I don’t know what we are going to do or where we are going to go, but I’ll never forget how kind your volunteers have been to us. You’ve treated us like family. Thank you, Red Cross.”
RED CROSS RESPONSE
More than 1,500 Red Crossers from all 50 states as well as hundreds of local volunteers are part of the relief effort. The Red Cross is working with the entire disaster response community – national, state and local agencies and organizations to make sure people get the help they need. On Thursday night, as many as 3,900 people were still seeking refuge in 28 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana. At the peak of the floods, more than 50 shelters provided safety for more than 10,000 people.
As of Friday morning, the Red Cross has provided more than 32,000 overnight shelter stays since the flooding began as well as serving more than 158,000 meals and snacks with the help of several organizations. Volunteers are visiting shelters to offer emotional support and help replace things like lost eyeglasses and medications. Dozens of disaster response vehicles are deployed to Louisiana as well as numerous trailer-loads of relief supplies to bolster relief efforts. Some of the thousands of supplies arriving include water, personal hygiene items, insect repellant, cleaning kits, bleach and other supplies.
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.