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Tens of Thousands Forced from Homes in Louisiana

3 Local Maine Red Cross Volunteers Part of Massive Disaster Relief Effort

PORTLAND (Tuesday, August 16th) – The current flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy.  Despite challenging conditions that include road closures and continued flooding, the American Red Cross is helping thousands of Louisiana residents with a safe place to stay and food to eat.  Part of the disaster relief effort includes three volunteers from the state of Maine.

On Monday night, more than 8,400 people sought refuge in at least 35 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana. People in Louisiana are facing a dire situation. Floodwaters still cover neighborhoods. An estimated 25,000 homes are damaged, affecting at least 75,000 people. Thousands of people have no power when it feels like 99 degrees outside and more than 100 roads are closed.

The Red Cross is mounting a massive relief operation consisting of more than 1,000 Red Cross disaster volunteers who have been mobilized from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to help with the Louisiana relief efforts.  In addition, over 60 disaster response vehicles, nearly 40,000 ready-to-eat meals, and more than two dozen trailer loads of shelter and kitchen supplies began arriving on Monday.

Currently, three Maine Red Cross volunteers are in the region assisting with the disaster relief efforts.  Margaret Rode (of Tenants Harbor), a five-year Disaster Mental Health Services volunteer with the Red Cross, is providing emotional support and helping those cope with the devastating loss of their belongings and/or loved ones.

Sharon Collin (of Cumberland Foreside), an 11-year Red Cross in Maine volunteer, has been deployed to disaster incidents in California, Texas, Oregon, Washington and participated in the response during Hurricane Katrina and at the Boston Marathon bombing.

Todd Tisdale (of Farmington, Maine), a two-year volunteer with the organization has previously been deployed to Texas to assist during the historic flooding in June.

Since the beginning of the year, the American Red Cross in Maine has deployed more than 35 responders to disasters throughout the country, including 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.  

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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).