Washington, DC - The American Red Cross is helping thousands of people in Louisiana affected by devastating flooding, likely the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“Relief efforts in Louisiana are challenging with life-threatening floods and road closures making conditions dangerous,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “We are mobilizing a massive relief effort with volunteers providing shelter, food and comfort right now. The Red Cross is also sending in additional relief supplies and volunteers to expand our response in the coming days.”
“The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the public to support our work,” continued Kieserman. “We urgently need people to join us in supporting Louisiana by making a financial donation today, as well as to consider volunteering to help us provide relief on the ground.”
On Sunday night, more than 10,600 people sought refuge in nearly 50 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana. Many local Red Cross volunteers have also been affected by the flooding and hundreds of community members are being trained right now to support their neighbors. An additional 500 Red Cross disaster volunteers from all over the country are on their way to help in Louisiana. The Red Cross has also mobilized 60 disaster response vehicles, 40,000 ready-to-eat meals and more than two dozen trailer loads of shelter and kitchen supplies.
HOW TO HELP Preliminary estimates indicate that Red Cross response efforts could cost more than $10 million. This prediction could change as more information becomes available. Local officials are reporting that 10,000 homes have been damaged. Many areas are still inaccessible and more rain is predicted which could lead to additional flooding. The Red Cross urgently needs the public to join in supporting Louisiana by making a financial donation today.
People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recovery from these disasters.
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP TO REACH LOVED ONES Residents of the affected areas can connect with their loved ones by using the “I’m Safe” button on the Red Cross Emergency App which is free and can be found in the app store for someone’s mobile device by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to redcross.org/apps. The app also features emergency alerts as well as locations of shelters.
People can also visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website, a secure and private way that friends and family connect. The site also allows people to update their status on Facebook and Twitter.
JOINT RELIEF EFFORT The Red Cross is working closely with the entire response community – federal, state, county and local agencies, other non-profit organizations, churches, area businesses and others – to coordinate relief efforts and deliver help quickly and efficiently, keeping in mind the diverse needs of the community. Some of the organizations sending help to the area include Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, the NAACP, Islamic Relief USA, Church of the Brethren Children’s Disaster Services, Save the Children, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints volunteers.
FLOODING SAFETY INFORMATION The Red Cross has steps people should follow to remain safe:
1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and heed evacuation orders when given. 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 someone comes upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around them, they should 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 dangers.
BECOME A VOLUNTEER It has been a very busy year for disasters with thousands of volunteers deploying to support people in need. People can make a difference in someone’s life by becoming a Red Cross volunteer. To become a Red Cross volunteer, visit redcross.org today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.