Local Red Cross Volunteers Help Neighbors in West Virginia

Thousands of Residents Affected by Devastating Floods

Six volunteers from Northeast Ohio are among the Red Cross workers assisting West Virginians affected by summer flooding.

The floods were caused by heavy rain that fell on Thursday, June 23.  More than two dozen fatalities have been attributed to the flooding, and thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed.

“I am always in awe of the power of something so simple as water,” said Mary Williams, a Red Cross Communications Officer from the Northeast Ohio Region, who arrived in West Virginia on Saturday, along with a growing number of volunteers.

“The number of volunteers responding to this disaster is amazing,” said Charlotte Rerko, Chief Operating Officer of the Northeast Ohio Region.  “It’s people helping people at it’s best.”

Red Cross volunteers are providing support and comfort to people affected by the flooding, by operating or supporting 13 shelters for people who lost their homes or who were forced to evacuate.  Some 1,200 people had a safe, dry place to stay Sunday night.

An Emergency Response Vehicle based at the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties chapter in Akron was also dispatched to the area, to bring food and other supplies to the flood-affected residents of West Virginia.

Because it’s such a traumatic time for so many families unexpectedly forced from their homes,  Red Cross disaster mental health workers have also been sent to the area to give the residents guidance on how to prepare for the return to their homes.  And Red Cross health workers are helping to replace needed items like prescription medications and eyeglasses.

More help is on the way, with more volunteers, emergency vehicles and other supplies on the way to West Virginia.  As of Monday, there were 150 Red Cross personnel assisting with the recovery effort.

We need your help.  Entire families have lost their homes and everything they own.  Your support will help people affected by disasters big and small.  You can donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org  or calling 1-800 RED CROSS.  Or you can make a $10 donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

You can prepare for floods and stay safe when they occur by following a few steps, including:

  • 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.
  • Stay away from floodwaters.
  • 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.

You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency App,  to have safety information, severe weather alerts and shelter locations available on your mobile device.

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