The American Red Cross Cascades Region (Oregon and Southwest Washington) has deployed additional responders to Louisiana to help with flood relief efforts.
As of Aug. 22, 27 responders from Bend, Tigard, Monmouth, Wood Village, Medford, Silverton, Florence, Salem, Portland, Lake Oswego, Wolf Creek, Keiser, Williams and Turner, Oregon, as well as Longview and Vancouver, Washington are either on the ground or heading to Louisiana. They are assisting affected communities by managing shelters, providing emergency financial assistance, health and mental health services, transportation services and coordinating with local government entities to help deliver assistance.
Volunteers on the ground describe the damage as “catastrophic.” Patty Albin and her husband Chuck, from Medford, Oregon, are among the 1,700 Red Cross responders from throughout the nation helping people who have lost everything.
“This morning a family from Baton Rouge came to us to get help – a woman, man and two small children,” Patty Albin said. “They told us they had stayed at a hotel until their money ran out and since then have been living in their car. We helped to make sure they got to a Red Cross shelter. Just before they left, the woman mentioned today is the little boy’s birthday. He is turning seven. We brought him a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy and he lit up. This is why we’re here. To give comfort and help people connect with the resources they need.”
The Albin’s have family members in Baton Rouge who were affected by the storm. Chuck’s brother and his family lost everything in the widespread flooding. The Albin’s volunteer with the Red Cross for as many as 12 hours per day and then head to Chuck’s brother’s home to help their family with clean-up efforts.
The situation in Louisiana:
The flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Early estimates predict the massive Red Cross relief effort could cost at least $30 million, although the cost estimate may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation. Local officials are estimating that more than 40,000 homes have been damaged. This is the second time in five months that Louisiana has seen more than 24 inches of rain during a single storm.
Red Cross workers are providing shelter, food and comfort right now, and will continue to be there in the weeks and months as ahead, helping residents recover from this disaster. Each day, the Red Cross is able to get into more and more neighborhoods, and volunteers are working tirelessly to provide assistance. In some areas, residents are still experiencing flooding, while other neighborhoods are facing the challenge of cleaning up.
Here are some of the ways the Red Cross is helping people affected by flooding:
* Distributing food: Since the onset of the flooding, the Red Cross and partners have served more than 200,000 meals and snacks.
* Providing shelter: At the peak of the floods, more than 50 shelters provided safety for more than 10,000 people. The Red Cross has provided more than 39,000 overnight shelter stays since the flooding began.
* Distributing relief supplies: Red Cross has distributed more than 32,000 relief items. Dozens of disaster response vehicles and trailer-loads of relief supplies are in Louisiana. Some of these supplies include water, personal hygiene items, insect repellant, cleaning kits and bleach.
* Connecting people to resources: the Red Cross call center has handled more than 16,000 calls from people seeking information and help since the floods began.
* Shelter volunteers are providing emotional support and helping to replace items like lost eyeglasses and medications.
How to help:
Donations are urgently needed. To help people affected by the Louisiana Floods or the California Wildfires visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
For more information, please visit redcross.org/Cascades or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossCasc.