American Red Cross disaster responders from across Mississippi continue to provide relief and comfort to residents in multiple counties as they recover from floods. Shelters remain open in Cohoama County, Perry County, Forest County, Washington County and Bolivar County. More than 200 people sought refuge in the shelters since Thursday and many more are visiting every day for hot meals and information about what help is available.
Trained Red Cross health and mental health workers are providing services to people at the shelters, including emotional support.
“We are focused on getting help right now to the residents who need it,” said Ivy Williams, CEO of the Mississippi Region. “We’re only able to do that because of the generous support of our donors who faithfully support the Red Cross disaster relief efforts.”
Since Thursday, over 50 Red Cross workers have:
• provided nearly 1200 meals and snacks
• deployed 7 emergency response vehicles
• deployed 59 Red Cross workers most of which are volunteers
As residents begin to clean up, the Red Cross encourages people to remember the following safety tips:
• Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
• Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
• Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
• Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
• If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
• If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
• Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
• Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
• During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
• Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out!
• Contact your local or state public health department to see if your water supply might be contaminated. You may need to boil or treat it before use. Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula!
At this time, the American Red Cross of Mississippi is fortunate to have volunteers who are trained, ready and willing to support our response to the flooding in our communities. We thank individuals and community groups who are willing to support this effort and encourage them to register to become new volunteers to help with future disaster responses. Learn more and register online at redcross.org/volunteer and complete the online application.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.
Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting www.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.
For more updates, follow the Mississippi Region of the American Red Cross on Twitter at @RedCrossMiss.
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/mississippi or visit us on Twitter at @redcrossMiss.