Here’s the latest information I have on Red Cross disaster relief efforts in northeast Texas. We have called our teams in, out of the field in anticipation of more dangerous weather this afternoon, but are still working to set up our Multi Agency Resource Centers (MARC) in Canton and Emory for the end of the week. The MARC’s are places where those affected can go to receive information, support and assistance from multiple social service agencies all under one roof. We also continue to feed people and distribute bulk items from our fixed sites in Canton, Emory and Fruitvale today.
Additionally, both our Canton and Emory shelters remain open. To date in these two shelters we have:
• Served 2,646 meals and 4,310 snacks
• Distributed 2,007 bulk items, 803 comfort kits and 72 clean-up kits
• Served 36 clients through casework
Our response at the American Red Cross is in full swing as we have 19 shelters open across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. The death toll has risen to 20 and two kids that were swept away in Madison County Arkansas remain missing. We are providing shelter, mass feeding, mental health counseling, disaster assessments and case work for families impacted. We now estimate costs for our response and full assistance are expected to exceed $3M and we are in need of financial support.
Unfortunately flood waters and rivers are still rising in Arkansas and Missouri and new flooding is occurring this afternoon in Louisiana.
In Arkansas, a levee failure in Pocahontas has prompted a flash flood emergency. East of Pocahontas, in Shannon, multiple water rescues are being reported. Floodwaters continue to rise and mandatory evacuations have been issued in several communities. On Tuesday nearly 45 Arkansas residents spent the night in five shelters. The Red Cross is working with local and state officials to ensure people get the help they need.
In Missouri, 202 people spent Tuesday night in 10 shelters. Flooding in St. Louis County has impacted as many as 200 homes and another 1,500 are in harm’s way. More than 100 homes in Carter County are damaged and river levels continue to rise. Conditions are expected to worsen and the Red Cross is closely monitoring the situation. The Red Cross is also helping in Illinois where flooding hit the central and southern regions of the state. Major River flooding has been predicted to potentially hit the state next week, and the Red Cross is working with state and local officials and ready to respond if needed.
And in Mississippi last week’s storms caused significant structural damage and Red Cross disaster teams are providing relief items, food, health and mental health services, as well as helping to assess the damage and assist people as they recover. To date more than 230 Red Cross workers have served nearly 14,500 meals and snacks and distributed nearly 13,500 relief items in hardest hit areas of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Mississippi.
We are hopeful that your organization is willing to provide a financial gift of support for Disaster Relief. Please note that a Federal declaration has not been declared which means that financial assistance for families affected from FEMA is not being provided. That means the financial support from donors like you is extremely important for us to meet the needs of hurting families.
Please note that the National Weather Service and the Weather Channel are forecasting a 40% chance of tornadoes and between 1” to 5” inches of rain in eastern Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Louisiana today and tonight. If this occurs it will make a difficult situation much worse, threatening more lives and likely increase the costs of our disaster response even further.
People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.