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Red Cross of Northeast PA Assists During Ice Jam Flooding

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Emergency assistance provided, shelters opened to assist displaced residents

JANUARY 25, 2018 — The American Red Cross Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter responded with nearly two dozen staff and volunteers to the recent ice jam flooding event which affected Luzerne and Wyoming counties. 

Beginning on Tuesday, Red Cross volunteers were in Nicholson, Wyoming County, where ice jams on the Tunkhannock Creek flooded several homes. The Red Cross provided lodging, food and clothing assistance to affected families.

Wednesday morning, a significant ice jam formed between Pittston and Wilkes-Barre along the Susquehanna River. This caused a sharp rise in water levels and began flooding streets in West Pittston. In response, the American Red Cross pre-positioned resources, including disaster workers and supplies, in the event evacuations were needed.

Evacuations were eventually ordered Wednesday evening for dozens of homes in West Pittston, and the Red Cross opened a shelter at the Wyoming Area Secondary Center in Exeter. That shelter housed eight evacuees overnight. Another shelter in nearby Duryea was opened and managed by local officials, and the Red Cross provided the facility with supplies.

By Thursday morning the ice jam had broken free with water levels quickly dropping on the Susquehanna River and its tributaries. All evacuation orders were lifted and the shelters closed after all residents had returned home.

The Red Cross reminds all residents that dangerous ice has been left behind by the flood event and everyone should steer clear of the ice. In addition, the rapidly changing conditions on the river serve as a reminder of the importance of emergency preparedness and being Red Cross Ready.

The Red Cross urges everyone to Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed. For more information, visit us on the web at http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies. For the latest weather alerts, including river flood warnings, download the Red Cross Emergency app today by visiting http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps.

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.