Red Cross Responds to Flooding in the East

Prepare for Floods
Heavy rain is predicted to continue for the next several days ...

More than 170 people spent Monday night in shelters in parts of New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina where heavy rains have caused damaging flooding and the American Red Cross is providing shelter, food, relief supplies and emotional support.

Heavy rain is predicted to continue for the next several days over many eastern states and flood and flash flood warnings are up through tonight from Georgia to New Hampshire. The Red Cross urges people to be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and head for higher ground if a flood or flash flood warning is issued for their area.

NEW YORK Severe flash flooding in Montgomery County, New York, forced people from their homes in Fort Plain and surrounding communities. The Red Cross of Northeastern New York launched a relief operation and more than 155 people spent Monday night in Red Cross and community shelters. The Red Cross is also providing food, clean-up items and comfort kits containing personal hygiene products like toothbrushes to those affected. A Red Cross mobile kitchen is serving about 500 lunches and dinners a day and disaster assessment teams are meeting with those affected to determine their immediate needs and help them as they begin to recover. Health and mental health service workers are also on hand at the local elementary school. Health services helps people replace lost items like prescriptions and eyeglasses. Mental health workers assist people as they deal with the loss of their homes and belongings.

PENNSYLVANIA The heavy rains also caused major flooding in Clearfield and Jefferson counties in the Keystone State and the Red Cross in Western Pennsylvania is responding. More than 70 Red Cross workers are operating and supporting community shelters and distributing meals in partnership with the Salvation Army. The Red Cross and other agencies are available at a disaster service delivery site in Reynoldsville. Red Cross emergency response vehicles are traveling throughout the affected communities, distributing food, water, clean-up items and comfort kits. The Red Cross is also assisting with assessment of the damages and caseworkers are meeting with people to determine what help is needed.

“We encourage impacted residents from Jefferson and Clearfield counties to stop by the service delivery site,” said Jason Bange, executive director, Red Cross. “We have volunteers and staff ready to work with individuals to get them onto their path of recovery.”

NORTH CAROLINA Heavy rains in parts of North Carolina led to flash flooding which forced people from their homes. About 25 people spent Monday night in a Red Cross shelter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Workers with the Triangle Area Red Cross chapter are providing food and health and mental health services and helping assess damages to determine what help people will need.

FLOOD SAFETY If flooding threatens someone’s neighborhood, they should follow these steps to remain safe:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If someone comes upon a flowing stream where water is above their ankles, they should stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of water can sweep them off their feet.
  • If someone encounters a flooded road while driving, they should turn around and go another way. Do not attempt to drive through the water. If caught on a flooded road, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
  • Be especially cautions at night when it is harder to see flood danger.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • AFTER THE FLOOD People should return home only when officials say it is safe to do so. Before entering their home, they should look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, cracks in the foundation or other damage. Other steps include:

  • Parts of the home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
  • If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
  • Make sure food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • HOW TO HELP The Red Cross is also responding to several wildfires in the West as well as the flooding in the east. If you would like to help, you can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief on this web site or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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