From multiple major hurricanes and tropical storms in the south to devastating wildfires in much of the west, back-to-back massive disasters have kept thousands of Red Cross volunteers working tirelessly for weeks across the country to provide food, shelter and comfort to tens of thousands of people in need.
These nonstop massive disasters have more than 2,200 Red Cross volunteers, including 49 from the Illinois Region, working tirelessly for weeks to provide food, shelter, comfort and support to people in need. Our work is just beginning; we will be providing support for weeks to come. The Red Cross needs more people to join our volunteer workforce and assist in disaster response across the country. Volunteer positions are open for both deployed positions and some virtual responders. Please go to RedCross.org/volunteer to learn more.
Disaster Outlook: After Hurricane Sally made landfall on September 16 drenching Alabama and Florida with heavy rainfall, the Red Cross has been there to help people as they clean up their homes and communities. Hundreds of people had to be rescued from flooded homes and vehicles.
While the full extent of the damage isn’t yet known, strong winds and more than 30 inches of rain damaged homes and business, roadways, bridges and other infrastructure in Florida and Alabama. Today, Red Crossers are supporting disaster relief efforts on the ground and virtually, with more needed in the days and weeks to come.
Out west, devastating wildfires continue to burn millions of acres, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate in California, Oregon and Washington. It could be weeks before evacuees can return home. Entire towns are destroyed, along with thousands of homes and businesses.
Meanwhile, Red Cross volunteers are still helping thousands of people who were impacted by category 4 Hurricane Laura in Louisiana and Texas. The Red Cross is working with partners to help hardest hit communities in their recovery process.
The devastation wrought by these disasters has been further compounded by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has not changed the Red Cross mission, and we are still providing support as we have previously. To help keep people safe, we are following guidance from CDC and public health authorities — and have put in place additional precautions. Some of these plans include social distancing protocols, face coverings, health screenings, and opening more shelters that can support fewer people than normal.
Ensuring people have a safe place to stay during a disaster is a critical part of the Red Cross mission, but how we support sheltering efforts may be different in each community depending on local emergency operations plans.
Our work is just beginning as we’ll continue to provide assistance to those impacted by these devastating disasters in weeks to come, as they figure out next steps in their recovery.
Local Volunteers Assist After Home Fires this Week:
Here at home, Disaster Action Team volunteers assisted nine people impacted by home fires in Johnston City and Sawyerville.
From Tuesday, September 22 through today, the Red Cross helped four adults and five children with temporary housing, health and information about recovery services.
If you need assistance after a local house fire or disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747. You can take two easy steps to protect your home and loved ones from a fire: Get a smoke alarm and create a fire escape plan. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
How You Can Help:
- Become a volunteer with the Red Cross and make a significant impact in your community and the lives of so many affected by disasters. Sign up today at redcross.org/volunteer.
- Make a Donation as the Red Cross is working 24-7 to respond to disasters like wildfires, tropical storms and countless other crises. Please donate to help now by visiting redcross.org, calling 800-RED-CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
- Donate Blood please schedule an appointment to donate by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 800-RED-CROSS. This month’s wildfires out west and Hurricane Sally have forced the cancellation of hundreds of blood drives, resulting in thousands of uncollected blood and platelet donations.
About the American Red Cross of Illinois
The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri including Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cook, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Green, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson Winnebago, Woodford. Iowa: Lee, Muscatine, Scott and Van Buren. Missouri: Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at Redcross.org/Illinois or visit us on Twitter @RedCrossIL.