Since Thursday, devastating floods have hit West Virginia, covering a large portion of the state. The American Red Cross is there, helping people impacted by the floodwaters.
There have been a reported 14 deaths thus far, with thousands of people without power and many roads and bridges washed out in the state. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has declared emergencies in 44 counties where dozens of people have had to be rescued. Officials estimate thousands of homes are damaged.
Red Cross workers opened numerous shelters in Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, Pocahontas and Roane counties and are providing meals, relief supplies and other assistance to those affected as well as meals for first responders. Red Cross disaster mental health workers are helping people cope. Health workers are helping to replace needed items like prescription medications and eyeglasses.
The Red Cross is monitoring the situation and working with state and local officials and partners to help ensure people get the help they need.
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.
FLOOD SAFETY STEPS The Red Cross has steps people should follow to remain safe if they are in an area where flooding may occur:
1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
2. Stay away from floodwaters.
3. If you come upon a flooded road while 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.
4. Keep children out of the water.
5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
HOW TO VOLUNTEER If you would like to help people affected by these storms, you can register as an event based volunteer at https://volunteerconnection.redcross.org/.