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Red Cross Still Sheltering 7,000+ in Louisiana; Local Volunteers on Standby to Help With California Wildfires

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PORTLAND, Ore., August 17, 2016 -- The American Red Cross continues to help thousands of people affected by disastrous floodwaters in Louisiana. Additionally, local volunteers are on standby to deploy to California to assist in the wildfire relief efforts there. The Red Cross is holding two volunteer training sessions tomorrow to recruit new volunteers interested in helping at local and national disaster responses.


Louisiana Floods

More than 7,000 people remained in Red Cross and community shelters Tuesday night and thousands more are without power in hot, humid conditions. According to state officials, at least 11 people have died, and more than 30,000 have been rescued from flood waters by emergency crews--with more than 40,000 homes damaged. Relief efforts have been hampered by impassable roads and widespread power and communications outages.

The Red Cross has more than 1,000 volunteer on the ground, including 18 from Oregon and Southwest Washington. Local responders from Medford, Silverton, Florence, Salem, Portland, Lake Oswego, Wolf Creek, Eugene, Keiser, Williams, and Turner, Oregon as well as Vancouver, Washington are helping by managing shelters, providing emergency financial assistance, health and mental services, transportation services, and coordinating with local government entities to help deliver assistance.

The flood danger is not over in Louisiana. More rain is possible and flood waters are moving downriver, which could cause damage in new areas. The Red Cross is closely monitoring the situation, and will be ready to mount an additional response if necessary.


California Wildfires

Local Red Cross responders are on stand-by to help in California. On Tuesday, the Blue Cut Fire started in San Bernardino County and has burned 30,000 acres. Additionally, the Clayton Fire in Lake County has burned 4,000 acres and has destroyed more than 175 structures. An additional 380 structures are threatened.

The Red Cross continues to support communities affected by wildfires in California. More than 86,000 people have been forced to leave their homes due to wildfires. On Tuesday night, two Red Cross shelters provided safe refuge to 173 people affected by the San Bernardino County Fire. Additional shelters have been placed on standby as needs grow.


Community Invited to Learn More about Red Cross Volunteer Work; Attend Free Training

The American Red Cross is looking to recruit additional volunteers to help local and national disaster response efforts. Psychological First Aid is one of several courses Red Cross volunteers must take in order to support disaster relief efforts across the nation. The Psychological First Aid course helps others cope in the face of stressful events. For disaster survivors and workers, it involves providing a compassionate environment, assessing a person's needs and providing immediate support in stressful situations.

The Red Cross is holding two Psychological First Aid training sessions, tomorrow, Thursday August 18 in Portland and Medford, OR. Members of the community are invited to attend and learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross.

*Portland Training: 5 p.m. at Red Cross Regional Headquarters - 3131 N. Vancouver Ave Portland, OR 97227.

*Medford Training: 5 p.m. at the Medford Red Cross office - 60 Hawthorne Street Medford, OR 97504. A volunteer information session and new volunteer registration will be held before both trainings (show up between 4 and 5 p.m.) and again immediately after the training for those interested in volunteering with the American Red Cross.


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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossCasc.