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.
August 23, 2016. Lafayette, Louisiana. This is my passion. Its not what I do. Its who I am. Red Cross volunteer Latonya Knight (Richmond, Virginia), client caseworker. Photo by: Marko Kokic/American Red Cross
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.