“The Red Cross is doing God’s work.” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden today said that is how his mother describes the assistance being given by the American Red Cross to those affected by this week’s flooding in the southeast.
Vice President Joe Biden greets a resident of the Red Cross shelter Cobb Co., Georgia.
Red Cross photo by Cameron Ballantyne.
Georgia residents receive a meal from an American Red Cross Emergency Response vehicle.
Red Cross photo by Chris Osborne.
His visit to Georgia to survey the damage included a stop at the Red Cross shelter at the Cobb County Civic Center. “The people being helped are so appreciative,” he continued, “this is more than a physical loss, it’s a psychological loss. This is tough stuff.”
Almost 400 people spent the night in Red Cross shelters in Georgia and Tennessee. The Red Cross has more than 200 volunteers and staff and 18 Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) in the area with more on standby. Cleaning supplies and comfort kits are being distributed and thousands of meals have been served to those affected by the flooding. Officials say early estimates show as many as 3,000 homes may be affected with damages estimated at $250 million.
As the waters recede, the Red Cross issues these steps people should take to remain safe as they return to their neighborhoods:
- 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 be collapsed or 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 the floodwater.
- If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
- 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 risk.
- 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 make baby formula.
- Contact your local or state public health department for specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area after a disaster as water may be contaminated.
Help people affected by disasters like the current floods by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting redcross.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.