The American Red Cross is sheltering and feeding people in 10 states who are being forced to leave their homes as major flooding hits the East Coast and fires tear throughTexas.
Days of steady rain have dropped more than a foot of rain in some areas ofPennsylvaniaandNew York, compounding the problems caused by Hurricane Irene and causing new flooding. Thousands of people are being forced from their homes and National Guard troops are assisting with evacuations in some areas. A school inBradford County,Pennsylvania, was cut off by flood waters, isolating more than 700 students. Roads are flooded throughout the area, bridges are under water, and many homes and business are already inundated with floodwaters. Rivers are expected to crest early Friday morning, more than ten feet above flood stage in some communities.
The Red Cross has shelters open all over the region and is sending additional disaster workers and supplies into the area. More than 650 people spent Wednesday night in Red Cross shelters inNew York. Disaster workers are ready to help throughout northeastern and centralPennsylvania. In the Mohawk Valley Region, shelters were open inIlionand Whitesboro late last night. Volunteers from Central New York have deployed toMohawkValleyand the Southern Tier to assist with sheltering and feeding evacuees.
The best way someone can find an open shelter is to listen to their local media. They can also visit www.redcross.org or download the free Red Cross shelter app for their iPhone. If headed to a shelter, they should bring extra clothing, pillows, blankets, prescriptions and emergency medication, personal hygiene items, and important documents.
Red Cross relief operations are continuing in Texas where wildfires are still burning. More than 230 people there spent Wednesday night in Red Cross shelters to escape the smoke and flames of the fires. Officials report more than 880 homes have already been destroyed. The Red Cross is also supporting emergency responders and people forced from their homes by serving drinks and snacks.
Relief operations are also ongoing inNorth Carolina,New Jerseyand throughoutNew Englandwhere Hurricane Irene destroyed thousands of homes at the end of August.
Red Cross costs for this multi-disaster response are growing by the hour. It is estimated the response to Hurricane Irene alone will cost between $10 million and $15 million. Flood operations inPennsylvaniaandNew York, in addition to the large wildfire response inTexaswill add to that estimate.
If someone would like to help, they can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org , calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box 37243,Washington,DC20013.