Louisiana Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Relief to air Monday, September 5

We are thrilled to share some exciting news: this coming Monday, September 5, Raycom Media will host a telethon, Louisiana Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Relief live from Baton Rouge’s River Center Theater between 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. (CT). The Red Cross is the sole beneficiary for the telethon, and all proceeds will support our disaster response in Louisiana.

Randy Jackson and Harry Connick, Jr. will co-host the live broadcast, which will air across Raycom Media’s 45 television stations nationwide including WOIO Channel 19 and WTOL Channel 11 here in northern Ohio.

The telethon will feature a dozen artists, including Aaron Neville, five-time Grammy nominee Hunter Hayes, as well as New Orleans-based musicians Better Than Ezra, Sonny Landreth, Chris Thomas King, MacKenzie Bourg, Luther Kent and Rockin’ Dopsie. Raycom Media’s Tupelo-Honey Raycom will produce the show, and Johnny Palazzotto, a Baton Rouge musician, will serve as music director.

The telethon is also available through livestream at redcross.org/SupportLA, where visitors can also make a donation to support our Louisiana flood relief efforts.

We are extremely grateful for the singular generosity shown by Raycom, which will help us greatly in raising funds needed in response to this devastating disaster.

To learn more about the event and the artists associated with the telethon, please visit Louisianarisingfloodrelief.com.

Thank you for supporting the efforts of the Red Cross and those Northeast Ohio volunteers who have deployed to Louisiana.

Mike’s Louisiana Report #1

Greetings…I’ve been in Baton Rouge since last Friday responding to DR063-17–a flooding incident that is the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012 with more than 60,000 homes and 7,000 businesses destroyed. I am assigned to a new pilot concept in Louisiana called the Red Cross Liaison Network along with other Regional Executives and Executive Directors from around the country to provide dedicated support to specific Parish Government and community leaders. This focused-care approach has enabled the relief operation to better understand and better meet community-specific needs, especially those arising on short or no notice.

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Photo Credit: Mike Parks/American Red Cross

I’ve been assigned to Livingston Parish, one of the hardest hit regions–the devastation of homes and business that I’ve witnessed first hand has been incredible. One of my responsibilities is to check in on our shelter operations–there are currently three Red Cross shelters operating in Livingston Parish. Imagine my surprise when I rolled into one shelter and ran into two volunteers (Jeff and Tom) from Canton, who had just arrived to support the operation. It was a treat to see fellow Northeast Ohio teammates engaged in supporting these folks who have lost so much, and in many cases, everything. It’s a privilege to serve alongside such dedicated Red Cross volunteers.

The Red Cross’ work here is far from done and will require many more volunteers and resources. I’d like to thank all those from Northeast Ohio who have already deployed to help with this disaster. And for those who are considering doing so, be forewarned that it’s hard work, but it’s incredibly meaningful and rewarding when you can be on the ground helping those in such desperate need–doing what the Red Cross has done since its founding 135 years ago–caring for and helping those in need. I appreciate everyone’s support back home in Northeast Ohio. The Red Cross is still facing the need for tremendous resources to respond to this disaster, and everyone’s support is greatly appreciated.

Michael N. Parks

Reporting for Duty: Mike Parks Deploying to Louisiana

Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region, is deploying to Louisiana.

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NEO CEO Mike Parks, addressing Red Cross workers during flood relief work in West Virginia in July, 2016

“The situation in Louisiana remains critical,” said Parks.  “People need help right now. This is who we are as the Red Cross, caring servants. I am proud to join over 2,500 Red Cross workers – 13 of whom are from Northeast Ohio – already in Louisiana.”

Each day, the Red Cross is able to get into more and more neighborhoods, and volunteers are working tirelessly to provide assistance. More than 90 Red Cross response vehicles, including 2 from Northeast Ohio, are fanning through affected neighborhoods to distribute food, water and relief supplies. Disaster mental health and health services volunteers are providing emotional support and helping to replace things like lost eyeglasses, wheelchairs and medications.

Some residents remain in shelters.

Since the onset of flooding in Louisiana, the Red Cross and partners have provided more than 55,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters. At the peak of the floods, more than 50 shelters provided safety for more than 10,000 people.In addition, more than 466,000 meals and snacks have been served.

“Our help is just beginning. We will be there to help people recover in the weeks and months to come. We ask people to please consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today to support the people of Louisiana.”

Learn more here how the Red Cross is giving people a place to go when there is no place to go through the words of one woman who has lost everything.

HOW TO HELP 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.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER To join us, visit redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

 

From NEO to La: Red Cross Response to Louisiana Flooding Continues

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August 22, 2016.  Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana.  Red Cross Volunteer Jodi Bocco visits with 5 year-old Larlasia.  Photo credit: Marko Kokic/American Red Cross

The Number of Northeast Ohio Volunteers Responding Continues to Grow

American Red Cross workers continue to work around the clock in flood ravaged communities of Louisiana to provide shelter, meals, comfort and support services for people who have lost so much during this devastating event. 20 volunteers from the Northeast Ohio Region have been deployed to the operation.

It’s been over a week since historic flooding devastated tens of thousands of lives in Louisiana, and the work of the Red Cross is just beginning. Shelters are still open and as many as 2,500 people were still seeking refuge in 18 Red Cross and community shelters on Tuesday night.

Within shelters, residents can access meals, relief supplies and information. Red Cross volunteers are also providing emotional support to help people cope. More than 2,300 Red Crossers – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – have supported relief efforts since the flooding began; over 90 percent of these trained disaster workers are volunteers.

Each day, the Red Cross is able to get into more and more neighborhoods, and volunteers are working tirelessly to provide assistance. Where possible, the Red Cross is beginning to distribute food and relief supplies, such as personal hygiene items, insect repellant, cleaning kits and bleach, to people at their homes. More than 90 response vehicles, including 2 from Northeast Ohio are fanning out through affected neighborhoods.

Since the floodwaters destroyed and damaged thousands of homes, together with local, state and national partners, the Red Cross has already:

  • Provided more than 47,700 overnight shelter stays;
  • Distributed more than 126,000 relief items;
  • Served nearly 356,500 meals and snacks;
  • Handled more than 17,000 calls from people seeking information and help.

Disaster mental health and health services volunteers are providing emotional support and helping to replace things like lost eyeglasses, wheelchairs and medications.

Early estimates predict the massive Red Cross relief effort in Louisiana could cost at least $30 million – and we haven’t raised nearly enough in donations to cover this cost. This cost estimate may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation. It includes the costs of providing food, shelter, blankets, cots, emotional support, health services, initial casework and relief supplies. It also includes some of the less visible costs that make relief possible including logistics, staff and technology expenses.

You can help the Red Cross respond to disasters big and small by donating to disaster relief at redcross.org, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.  You can also make a $10 donation directly to the Louisiana Flood relief effort by texting LAFLOODS to 90999.

The road to recovery will be long and arduous for residents in Louisiana, but they won’t face it alone. The Red Cross will remain in impacted communities in the weeks and months to come to provide people with the resources and support they need to return to a sense of normalcy.

How Can You Help Baton Rouge?

The Red Cross continues to provide hope, shelter and meals to those affected in Louisiana.

If you are asking yourself, “How can I help them?” Well, it’s as easy as sending a text (if you can’t do it yourself, may I recommend finding your nearest 5-year-old as they are shockingly amazing at it.) Simply text LAFLOODS to 90999 and a ten dollar donation to the American Red Cross will appear on your next cellular phone bill. Those with iPhones can also make a $5-$200 donation through iTunes and the App Store.

This donation will help us provide services and relief items to those affected by flooding in Louisiana.

Seven days in to the response, Red Cross shelters have hosted over 42,000 overnight stays. Nearly 2,800 remain in shelters. This is a number not typically seen this many days into an operation.

We have distributed 250,000 meals and snacks in shelters and communities.

Many are starting the work of rebuilding their lives; this is the next phase of a disaster response. Teams of Red Cross workers, including more than a dozen volunteers from Northeast Ohio, are in communities where the waters have receded, surveying the damage done and helping families navigate available financial and well-being assistance. Red Cross trucks from around the country are out providing meals and cleaning supplies to those tackling the job of repairing their homes.

The current estimate for the Red Cross response in Louisiana stands at $30 million.

NEO Red Cross Continues to Support Victims in Louisiana

According to meteorologists, more than 6.9 trillion gallons of rain – enough water to fill 10.4 million Olympic pools – deluged Louisiana this week.

On Wednesday night, more than 4,100 people were still seeking refuge in 30 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana. And the flooding danger is not over. More rain is falling in Louisiana and flood waters are moving down-river, which could cause damage in new areas. The Red Cross is closely monitoring the situation to be ready to mount an additional response if necessary.

Red Cross volunteers – including 16 from right here in Northeast Ohio – continue to help thousands of people in Louisiana in what is the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. This response is anticipated to cost at least $30 million – and this number may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation.

The flooding in Louisiana has left many areas without power and phone service, making it difficult for loved ones to connect. Local emergency lines have also been inundated with calls for help. The Red Cross has two ways to help families reconnect:

  • The Red Cross Emergency App features a “Family Safe” feature that allows people to check on loved ones who are in an area affected by an emergency and instantly see if they are okay – even if that loved one hasn’t downloaded the App on their device. The App is free and can be found in the app store for your mobile device by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to redcross.org/apps.
  • The Red Cross is encouraging people to register on our Safe and Well website, www.redcross.org/safeandwell, to help people reconnect. If you are concerned about a loved one, visit the “Search” page, enter the person’s name and pre-disaster phone number or complete address. If you are outside the disaster area and you hear from loved ones without access to a computer, you can register them through Safe and Well. That way, other loved ones can be reassured as well.

Large disasters like this flooding create more needs than any one organization can meet, and 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.

The Red Cross urgently needs the public to join us in supporting Louisiana by making a financial donation today. Help people affected by the Louisiana Floods 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 recover from these disasters.

 

NEO Volunteers Deploy to Louisiana Flooding

Red Cross disaster workers — including 8 from here in Northeast Ohio — are helping thousands of Louisiana residents with a safe place to stay and food to eat despite closed roads and continued flooding making it challenging to get relief supplies to where they are needed.

Volunteers, Sue and Linda left from the Cleveland office in an emergency response vehicle this morning. A second team left from Youngstown.

The truck (lovingly referred to as an ERV by Red Cross staff) will be used transport cleaning items like mops, buckets and bleach or hot meals prepared by our partners at one of the eight Southern Baptist kitchens out in to the communities affected by the flood.

The current flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy.

Monday night more than 8,400 people sought refuge in 36 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana. More than 1,000 Red Cross disaster volunteers have been mobilized from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to help with the Louisiana relief efforts. The Red Cross is also mobilizing over 60 ERVS — like the two that left Northeast Ohio this morning — with nearly 40,000 ready-to-eat meals, and dozens of trailers filled with shelter and kitchen supplies.

“People in Louisiana urgently need our help now,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO. “Please consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today.”

HOW TO HELP People in Louisiana are facing a dire situation. Floodwaters still cover neighborhoods. An estimated 25,000 homes are damaged, affecting at least 75,000 people. Thousands of people have no power when it feels like 99 degrees outside and more than 100 roads are closed. 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.

FINDING 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.

People can also visit http://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 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, AFL-CIO, Verizon, Duracell, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Baton Route YMCA and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints volunteers.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER To become a Red Cross volunteer, visit redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

A Report on the Flooding in Louisiana

By: Pam Williams, volunteer

 

Since the flooding in the south began three weeks ago, nearly 2,000 Red Crossers working alongside partners have provided 4,700 overnight stays in 60 shelters; served 290,000 meals and snacks; distributed more than 119,000 relief items including comfort kits and cleaning supplies; and provided nearly 9,000 health and mental health consultation.

I deployed to Louisiana as part of the External Relations team. As a Government Operations Lead, I helped coordinate necessary services and activities with local, state, federal and Tribal government partners and worked with our Community Partner Services volunteers who identify non-government partners, private agencies and/or organizations and members of the affected communities to assist those affected by the disaster.

This was my 22nd deployment and several of them have been in response to floods. My friends think I’m off to see the country, and I suppose they’re right, but I’m seeing it in pain. However, while each disaster and each response is different I have found one constant – I am seeing people at their best. Whether it is Red Cross volunteers who leave their lives and families to respond, community groups who step up to help their neighbors or those affected by the disaster who are amazingly resilient there is a spirit that moves people forward.

Since returning to Northeast Ohio, here are some of the things I have learned about the response in Louisiana:

  • This is the largest sheltering operation for the Red Cross in Louisiana since Hurricane Gustav and Ike in 2008, and Hurricane Isaac in 2012.
  • As many as 12,000 people have been impacted by the flooding across the state with hundreds of residences either destroyed or receiving major damage.
  • The Red Cross estimates that we will spend between $8.5 million and $11.5 million helping people affected by spring floods and storms across Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee – and we haven’t raised anywhere near the millions of dollars we’re spending to provide the relief needed.
  • Since the flooding began, the Red Cross and our partners have provided more than 3,000 overnight stays in 30 shelters; served 216,000 meals and snacks; distributed 53,000 relief items including comfort kits and cleaning supplies; and provided 3,800 health and mental health consultations in Louisiana alone. Over three weeks into this response operation we are still sheltering affected residents and pockets of previously unidentified people are popping up everyday. There are over 430 areas that continue to be marked as inaccessible so our Disaster Assessment teams can’t yet get in to see how badly the homes have been affected.

The Red Cross has also deployed hundreds of volunteers (like me) to staff these disasters–and we are appealing for additional Red Cross volunteers now. The time and talent of every volunteer makes a real difference in people’s lives. Go to redcross.org/volunteer today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

Louisiana Floods 2016

Sunday March 13, 2016. Rayville, Louisiana. Bobby Ray Griffin and Mildred Means took on more than a foot of water in their Rayville, Louisiana, home. They had already spent much of the day removing flood-damaged furniture from their home when Red Cross volunteers came through their neighborhood with snacks and water. Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross

Louisiana Floods 2016

March 14, 2016. Monroe, Louisiana. At 9-months-old, Jakenzie Bradford is one of the youngest staying at this Monroe, Louisiana, Red Cross shelter. She and her family where displaced when floodwaters entered their home nearly a week ago. The Red Cross provides a safe place where children and families can feel comfortable and secure as they begin the road to recovery after disasters like floods. Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross