Number of Maine Volunteers Grow as Recovery Efforts Continue
BANGOR (Friday, August 19th) – As part of the massive disaster relief effort in Louisiana, two additional American Red Cross in Maine volunteers will be joining the three Mainers who are already in the state. Devastating and widespread flooding in the region has forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and more danger could lie ahead as scattered rain and thunderstorms are forecast to continue.
On early Saturday morning, Darlene Helms (of Hampden), a two-year volunteer with the organization and Dotty Lanphear (of Camden) a Disaster Mental Health Services volunteer who has been affiliated with the Red Cross for the last three years, will be departing from the Bangor International airport to join the more than 1,000 Red Cross workers from all 50 states who are part of the relief efforts.
Currently, Red Cross in Maine volunteers Margaret Rode (of Tenants Harbor), Sharon Collin (of Cumberland Foreside) and Todd Tisdale (of Farmington, Maine) are in the region working tirelessly to provide support and comfort during this historic flooding.
According to meteorologists, more than 6.9 trillion gallons of rain – enough water to fill 10.4 million Olympic pools – fell on Louisiana this week. At least 40,000 homes have been damaged and more than 70,000 people in the state have registered for FEMA assistance. Roads remain flooded and closed, while schools, businesses and government offices have been shut down for days. President Obama declared the flooding a major disaster, and so far, 20 parishes have been added to that declaration.
In the most heavily damaged parish, Livingston, east of Baton Rouge, about 75% of the homes were destroyed. Major flooding continues along portions of the Amite, Vermilion, Mermentau and Calcasieu Rivers, with flood conditions likely to persist well into next week for some of these areas. Getting help to some areas is challenging due to devastating floodwaters and closed roads. Despite these difficulties, Red Cross disaster volunteers are working tirelessly to provide food and shelter to thousands of people forced from their homes.
To date, the Red Cross has opened 72 shelters which have helped to provide more than 28,500 overnight stays and served more than 137,800 meals and snacks. Some of the supplies arriving include water, personal hygiene items, insect repellant, cleaning kits, bleach and other important supplies.
Since the beginning of the year, the American Red Cross in Maine has deployed more than 35 responders throughout the country to disaster incidents like the Orlando shooting, Flint, Michigan water contamination crisis, wildfires in California, flooding in West Virginia, Texas and Mississippi. With more than 1,100 volunteers in Maine, the Red Cross responds to disasters big and small, including home fires, hurricanes and blizzards impacting the state. Learn how you can help by visiting, www.MaineRedCross.org.
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. Learn more at MaineRedCross.org, on Twitter (ARC_Maine), or Facebook (American Red Cross of Maine).