The American Red Cross has been on the ground helping since tornadoes and flooding slammed into states in the south and Midwest over the holidays. Officials report these storms destroyed or caused major damage to more than 2,500 homes.
In Missouri alone, officials estimate at least 2,000 homes are inaccessible. Homes were also destroyed or severely damaged in Illinois, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.
DIANNA’S STORY In Pacific, Missouri, Dianna Bush and her dog survived flooding along the Meremac River. “I don’t have a house. I don’t have a place to live. I don’t have anything,” she said. Bush escaped the flooding in a Red Cross shelter. “Red Cross people are special,” she said. “It’s a family. They’re so happy to hug you.”
Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers have shelters open and are providing meals, distributing comfort kits and clean-up supplies, providing health and mental health services and meeting with those affected to help them plan their next steps. Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles are traveling through some affected neighborhoods, making sure people have food to eat and relief supplies.
New storms are causing flooding and landslides in California and Red Cross workers opened an evacuation center for people forced to leave their homes. The Red Cross has more shelters on stand-by if needed.
The threat of flooding along rivers in the Midwest and south will continue until the middle of January, especially in communities along the lower Mississippi. The Red Cross has more supplies and volunteers standing ready if needed.
PLEASE GIVE NOW The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to assist people affected by disasters such as the ongoing flooding, recent tornadoes and winter storms. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
SAFETY STEPS Anyone living in an area where flooding is possible should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information and shelter locations with them. The Emergency App features emergency weather alerts to help keep the user safe, and provides information about what to do in case of floods and the locations of open shelters. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
People living in communities threatened by severe weather should keep informed about weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials. If their neighborhood is prone to flooding, they should be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary. Other flood safety steps include: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.