ENDICOTT, N.Y. (May 28, 2015) — The American Red Cross is continuing to help people in Texas and Oklahoma who were impacted by this past weekend’s devastating floods and tornadoes. Two more volunteers from the Southern Tier Chapter of the Red Cross will deploy Friday to assist in those relief efforts.
Carol Whitlow, of Tompkins County, will deploy to Oklahoma City, Okla., and Dave Ruston, of Broome County, will deploy to Austin, Texas. Both will serve as Disaster Mental Health supervisors, helping residents deal with the emotional trauma of the disaster. Whitlow and Ruston join Lee Campfield, of Tioga County, and Don Nelson, of Broome County, as Southern Tier volunteers on deployment in Texas and Oklahoma.
Whitlow and Ruston make a total of 14 volunteers from the Western and Central New York Region who have deployed to help in the Red Cross response to recent severe storms and major fires across the country:
NAME, HOMETOWN LOCATION ACTIVITY
Lee Campfield, Tioga County Texas Feeding Supervisor
Tom Daley, Tonawanda Texas Client Casework
Dominic DiGirolamo, Belmont Texas Disaster MentalHealth
Marieanna Elliott, Hamburg Ohio Disaster MentalHealth
Lucille Frisicano, Webster Oklahoma Health Services Supervisor
Greg Langen, Pittsford Texas Disaster Assessment
Donald Nelson, Broome County Texas Sheltering Supervisor
Sarah Perkins, Pittsford Texas Disaster Assessment
Bill Platt, Rochester Guam Training Supervisor (returned)
Dave Ruston, Broome County Texas Disaster Mental Health
Diane Sargent, Lockport Oklahoma Disaster Assessment
Jennifer Schaefer, Syracuse Oklahoma Health Services (returned)
David Warren, Rochester Ohio Client Casework
Carol Whitlow, Tompkins County Oklahoma Disaster Mental Health
More than 230 people spent Wednesday night in Red Cross shelters in the Texas and Oklahoma. Governors in both states declared disasters in more than 80 counties after the extreme weather destroyed or damaged thousands of homes and left thousands without power. Schools are closed in several major metropolitan areas and people are being asked to avoid flooded areas.
“This deadly flooding comes on the heels of three consecutive weeks of severe weather in Texas. Some people have been hit repeatedly and we are assisting them for the second time,” said Richard Reed, senior vice president for Disaster Cycle Services of the American Red Cross.
Since early May in Texas, Red Cross workers have opened 37 shelters, served more than 34,000 meals and snacks, and handed out more than 33,000 relief items and cleaning supplies. More than 900 Red Crossers are helping in Texas along with 40 emergency response vehicles. Additional volunteers and vehicles are on alert if needed.
“The Red Cross is expanding our relief efforts and mobilizing additional volunteers, vehicles, food and relief supplies to help the thousands of people impacted by these latest storms,” continued Reed. “We depend on financial donations to provide shelter and food, and we need the public’s help now. Our response in Texas alone is expected to cost more than $3 million.”
Texas has been under the gun of a powerful storm system since early May, suffering repeated and ongoing severe weather and torrential rains. The situation worsened over the holiday weekend as more flooding hit the state, including parts of major cities such as Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Wichita Falls.
IN OKLAHOMA, the Red Cross has been helping people since tornadoes pounded the state in early May. Over the weekend residents were hit with heavy rain, more tornadoes and flooding. Additional flooding is predicted and the Red Cross is monitoring the situation and working with local and state officials to determine what additional help may be needed.
Since early May in Oklahoma, the Red Cross has opened 14 shelters providing more than 500 overnight stays, served more than 29,000 meals and snacks, and handed out nearly 18,000 relief items including cleaning supplies. In addition, more than 500 cases have been opened to provide one-on-one support to families and individuals in need of extra help to get back on their feet.
HOW TO HELP
A donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief can help provide shelter for someone who has had to leave their home and food and water for them to eat. Help people affected by disasters like floods, tornadoes and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.