The Red Cross in Belgium is responding to the tragic attacks in Brussels this week while here at home, American Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground across the south helping the victims of the devastating flooding there.
The Belgian Red Cross mobilized nearly 400 people in response to the March 22 bombings in Brussels. Red Cross volunteers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and psychological emergency response teams have been working around the clock to support people present at the scene of the attacks and their loved ones.
On the day of the attacks, the Belgian Red Cross dispatched 30 ambulances to the Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek metro station—and transported more than 100 wounded people to 16 different hospitals. The entire ground floor of the Thon EU Residence Hotel in Brussels was turned into a Red Cross medical post.
The Belgian Red Cross also opened a reception center which is offering some level of comfort—beds, blankets, and toiletries—to people unable to return home. In addition, psychological support experts are on hand to help people suffering from shock, trauma and grief. They are also present at the military hospital to assist families in identifying victims.
ALMOST 3,000 HOMES AFFECTED BY FLOODING IN SOUTH
Meanwhile here at home, more than a thousand American Red Cross disaster workers are helping in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi as thousands of people try to get back on their feet from the ongoing flooding there.
Almost 200 people spent Thursday night in American Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. Volunteers are providing shelter, food, relief supplies, health and mental health services and meeting with people to help them plan their recovery, do paperwork and locate help from other agencies.
Approximately 2,800 homes have been destroyed or received major damage in the devastating flooding. Some communities are still isolated. Many people are still unable to return home. The number of homes affected could grow as more areas become accessible.
“The American Red Cross has been helping the flooding victims since the water first damaged these communities and will be there in the days and weeks to come as people recover. We are spending millions of dollars to provide relief,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the American Red Cross. “Working with community partners, emergency shelters have been open for more than two weeks, and we’re also providing food, relief supplies and emotional support to families forced from their homes with only what they could carry.”
As of March 25, more than 1,800 Red Crossers working alongside partners have provided 4,300 overnight stays in 60 shelters; served 224,000 meals and snacks; distributed 88,000 relief items including comfort kits and cleaning supplies; and provided 6,300 health and mental health consultations since the flooding began. See more on the American Red Cross response in this video.
HOW TO HELP
The Red Cross needs the public right now to help support families suffering from disasters right now. Anyone who wants to help people affected by disasters like flooding and countless other crises can make a donation to American 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.
The American Red Cross estimates that spending will fall between $5.5 million and $10 million to help people affected by spring floods and storms across Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. This is an evolving disaster and these figures are preliminary estimates that are likely to change.
BECOME A RED CROSS VOLUNTEER
Another way people can help is to become an American Red Cross volunteer. The donated time and talent of a Red Cross volunteer can make a real difference in people’s lives. Go to redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.