The American Red Cross is on the ground in Texas where heavy rains are causing a flash flood emergency situation affecting more than three million people living in the Houston area.
As many as 16 inches of rain have already fallen in the region and more rain is expected. Red Cross workers are opening shelters for people forced to leave their homes and monitoring the ongoing situation with emergency managers. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations are underway and one report indicates there have already been numerous water rescues.
According to reports from the impacted area, hundreds of homes are flooded along at least seven bayous so far, affecting hundreds of homes in what is being described as a devastating flood event. Travel is difficult with many roads impassable. The affected area is home to 3.1 million people, more than 800 schools and more than 55 hospitals.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? The Red Cross is urging people in the area to be prepared. Residents in the area should download the Red Cross Emergency App to receive flood and flash flood warnings, information about what to do if someone has to evacuate or the power goes out. More information is available here.People should also either practice their disaster plan or create a plan if they don’t have one and be prepared to evacuate very quickly. The plan should let everyone in the home know what to do in an emergency, where everyone would meet and who they would contact.Every household should have a disaster kit including non-perishable food and water for everyone in the home, a first aid kit, essential medications, a manual can opener, flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries, copies of important documents and more.And everyone in the affected area should follow these flood safety steps:If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary. Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe to do so.Head for higher ground and stay there.Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Turn around, don’t drown. If driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.Keep children out of the water.Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.
HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like flooding and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.