Red Cross Workers Help Out in Schoharie County

schoharie county volunteers
Red Cross volunteers worked with Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery to identify the streets and neighborhoods most seriously affected.

At least 20 American Red Cross of Northeastern New York (ARCNENY) workers responded to Schoharie County over the weekend, bringing relief supplies to the communities that were hit by severe thunderstorms and flash floods Friday afternoon. About three inches of rain fell across the county within just a few hours, flooding low-lying roadways, ditches and small streams. Culverts that were blocked by debris also overflowed, sending water into residents' homes and local businesses.

Red Cross volunteers worked with SALT (Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery) to identify the streets and neighborhoods most seriously affected. Crews fanned out with six Red Cross vehicles, including two ERV's (Emergency Response Vehicles) loaded with water, snacks, and clean-up kits (mops, bleach, gloves, and buckets.) About 30 kits were distributed, mostly in Middleburgh which suffered the most damage. Hundreds of snack packs and water bottles were passed out to residents working in their yards, driveways and homes in both Middleburgh and the Village of Schoharie.

Disaster Assistance Teams arranged for one woman forced from her home to be housed in a local motel for a few days, and provided her with assistance with food and clothing. Medical evaluations were provided to two elderly residents, and Mental Health Services advisors counseled a few residents who were feeling stressed by the situation. One Disaster Assistance Team was diverted from the flood response to Richmondville, to provide a local family with shelter, food, and clothing assistance after an electrical fire at their home.

At least three Red Cross Volunteers on the scene were from Schoharie County. They were joined by volunteers and employees from the Albany Red Cross office, plus an ERV team from Dutchess County that came to help with the response.

The areas impacted by the weekend flooding were devastated by Hurricane Irene in 2011, and SALT and other local recovery groups were formed in response. The recent storms were the first opportunity for the Red Cross to work in cooperation with these groups in a response effort. On June 5, the Red Cross co-hosted a forum on community resiliency in Schoharie County where attendees discussed how to address areas of risk facing county residents. Just over a week later, the Red Cross, the County Emergency Management Office, SALT, and other groups which attended the forum went from discussion to action to help area residents.

Trained Red Cross volunteers and staff are on call 24 hours a days, seven days a week - and are ready to help when needed with disaster assessment, client casework, sheltering, mass care, feeding, and more. The ability for the Red Cross to respond to disasters is made possible solely through the generous donations made by the public. To assist those affected by disasters, visit www.redcross.org/nenyvolunteer to volunteer and www.redcross.org/charitable-donations to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.