Rising floodwaters are causing problems for people across multiple states and the American Red Cross is responding with food, relief supplies, emotional support and health services. Disaster workers are also supporting people in West, Texas after the tragic explosion last week.
ILLINOIS, MICHIGAN FLOODING Although some rivers are going down, officials say they will remain at measurable flood levels for some time. Many people are still unable to return to their homes and are taking refuge in Red Cross shelters in Illinois and Michigan. Red Cross emergency response vehicles are deployed, distributing snacks and water and clean-up items to help people once they get permission to return to their neighborhood. Not knowing how their homes are affected is difficult and Red Cross mental health workers are providing emotional support.
RIVERS RISING IN MINNESOTA, NORTH DAKOTA Rising rivers and melting snow could lead to major flooding along the Red and Souris Rivers in Minnesota and North Dakota. The Red Cross is providing food and water to people putting sandbags in place and contingency plans are in place to open shelters if needed.
IF FLOODING THREATENS People should get their household ready now and build an emergency kit, including three days of supplies for everyone in the household. Water (one gallon per person per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents should go in every kit. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home. A variety of emergency preparedness kits, first aid kits and other supplies are available at www.redcrossstore.org.
When floodwaters inundate someone’s community, they should listen to local officials and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and head for higher ground. People should stay away from floodwaters – whether walking or driving, they should turn around and go another way. Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood dangers and keep children out of the water.
Other steps people can take to stay safe should flooding threaten can be found on this web site. Flood safety tips are also available in the “Prepare for Emergencies” section of the Red Cross First Aid App available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.
WEST, TEXAS Red Cross caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with those affected to give them access to tools and resources to help them move forward. Mental Health workers are providing emotional support at community events and memorial services, and the Red Cross is handing out relief supplies to people returning home for the first time since the explosion.
HOW TO HELP In the last ten years, the Red Cross has launched 127 large relief operations across 38 states to help people affected by flooding. These responses are costly and can last a long time as floodwaters have to go down before people can begin cleaning up their homes. If someone would like to help people affected by floods and other disasters, they can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief at www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.