Red Cross Meets Changing Needs of Communities During Flood Relief

IMG_1513As flood waters recede and needs change, so does the Red Cross service delivery plan. While visiting an evacuated community in West Alton where clean up supplies were being delivered, it was discovered that more than 80 people, who had not evacuated or had been able to return home, were in need of food.

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On one side of Hwy 67 there is a community whose homes were not completely flooded, several feet of water in the basements was not keeping their homes from being livable, but the only road to reach them is still flooded out. They have been boating over to Parsons Pit Stop for supplies as needed. Additionally, on the drier side of the Hwy, more families have been waiting patiently as their utilities are slowly being restored. When talking to Chris Redd from the Rivers Pointe Fire District , Red Cross volunteers found an unmet need and were able to immediately provide the relief needed.

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That very evening, a Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle delivered 100 meals to provide dinner, and beginning 1/5/16 until such time as we are no longer needed, lunch and dinner will be provided to the community.

Safety Tips for Returning Home: 

  • Continue to monitor local radio and television stations for updated information about flooding and weather conditions. Never drive through water. If caught while driving on a road with rapidly rising water, get out of the vehicle quickly and move to higher ground. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown.
  • Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
  • Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage. Parts of your home may have collapsed or are damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with floodwater.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department or 9-1-1.
  • If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
  • Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
  • Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risks.
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
  • Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or baby formula.
  • Contact your local or state public health department for specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area after a disaster.

Anyone needing flood-related assistance should call the Red Cross at 314-516-2700 or United Way 2-1-1 for additional resources.

Photos by: K.N. Holderby, Red Cross Public Afars Volunteer

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