GREENVILLE — The American Red Cross launched a massive relief response across multiple states in the wake of the deadly storms that have been hammering communities across most of the country since before the Christmas holiday.
“Red Cross disaster workers have been helping people affected by these storms since before Christmas and will continue to help them as long as needed,” said Ann Wright, executive director for the American Red Cross of Upstate SC. “We ask everyone to remember these families who have lost everything and had their holiday celebrations tragically interrupted by giving to Red Cross Disaster Relief. We depend on generous financial donations to provide comfort and hope to people in need.”
Several days of tornadoes, flooding and winter storms left behind damaged homes, downed power lines and closed highways. Red Cross and community shelters are open in Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The Red Cross is also supporting families in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi due to severe weather and flooding.
More than 1,100 homes have been damaged by storms across the affected areas and the number could increase. Hundreds of trained Red Cross disaster workers left their loved ones and homes over the holiday and opened shelters for those affected, providing meals, distributing comfort kits and clean-up supplies and meeting with those affected to help them plan their next steps.
The onslaught of storms plaguing most of the country have resulted in possible flooding and flash flooding along many rivers and has prompted flood warnings for areas of the Upstate. The Red Cross urges people in the path of these storms to get ready now. Information about what people should do to prepare their household for possible flooding, tornadoes, winter storms and other weather emergencies is available at redcross.org.
If flooding occurs
Listen to local radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). People should also:
• Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
• When a flood warning is issued for your area, 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.
• 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.
• Keep children out of the water.
• Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger
The Red Cross will be helping people affected by this storm for weeks and months to come, while at the same time responding to other emergencies, including helping people whose homes are destroyed by fires. The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States — the vast majority of which are home fires.
People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief to support disasters big and small by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/sc or @RedCrossSC.