Winter storms and El Niño conditions have certainly arrived, bringing with it dangerous flooding, blizzards, tornadoes, and mudslides. The stormy conditions have kept Red Cross volunteers busy across the nation as they work to provide safety and comfort to thousands of families.
Further across the nation, hundreds more volunteers have been providing relief to residents affected by violent storms in Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois.
“Red Cross people are special,” said Missouri flood survivor Dianna Bush, “It’s a family. They’re so happy to hug you.” Dianna and her dog survived the Meramec River flooding and like some people she’s relying on the Red Cross for shelter and food.
In just one month, since December 7, the Red Cross has served 86,000 meals and snacks, provided 1,900 overnight stays in emergency shelters, and distributed 56,000 relief items. In some areas, trained volunteer workers are also meeting one-on-one with people to help them plan their recovery.
January 1, 2016 — Missouri Floods Dale Vaughn asses his flooded neighborhood near Arnold, Missouri. Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross
January 2, 2016 — Garland, Texas — ERV crews take donated meals from an area Chilis Restaurant to areas of Garland and Rowlett affected by the recent tornadoes. ERV team member Roxanne Bunkoff hugs Cathrine Armstrong, who was sorting through the rubble of her home in Rowlett. Photos by Dennis Drenner for the American Red Cross.
Missouri Floods. Jason Gallagher holds his two daughters, Cassidy (left), 3, and Adilyn (right), 4, during the flood relief effort in Arnold, Missouri. Photo by Daniel Cima for the American Red Cross
January 2, 2016 — Arlington, Texas — Photos from the massive ARC warehouse, one of five in the country storing clean up kits, cots, and other supplies commonly used in RC operations. ARC volunteer Susan Clark moves cleanup kits. Photos by Dennis Drenner for the American Red Cross.
Missouri Floods. Red Cross volunteer John Lewis helps Bill Baugher with a clean-up kit during the flood relief effort in Arnold, Missouri. Photo by Daniel Cima for the American Red Cross
January 1, 2016 — Garland, Texas — ARC response to the tornados around Dallas, Texas. ARC volunteer Sara Hersey plays with shelter residents D’Kaelyn James, age 2 (the boy) and D’Andrea Rushing, age 1 (they are brother and sister). Photos by Dennis Drenner for the American Red Cross.
Missouri Floods. Red Cross volunteers John Lewis and George Muller carry hot meals to families during the flood relief effort in Arnold, Missouri. Photo by Daniel Cima for the American Red Cross
Red Cross volunteer Sherri Brown gives a hot meal to Courtney Boudreau who is helping friends clean up after the historic flooding in Pacific, Missouri. January 3, 2016. Photo by Daniel Cima for the American Red Cross
Local Red Cross teams around the Central California Region are continuing to work with government partners to determine where help may be needed. Shelter supplies and volunteers are at the ready, for if and when local chapters are called into more action.
In the meantime, make sure your family is taking precautions to stay safe during these storms. Try not to travel when weather is bad, but if you must, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car with extra chargers, batteries, water, food, and emergency signalling tools like flares or reflective signs. Make sure to also have an emergency kit in your home with any necessities you need to survive for at least three days.