From Tillamook to St. Helens, the Red Cross works to help victims
PORTLAND, Ore. – Rain storms that caused flooding throughout the northern Oregon coast have damaged thousands of homes and businesses and claimed several lives. The Oregon Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross is offering a variety of services to those affected by this flooding, from sheltering and feeding affected residents and emergency workers, to conducting damage assessment and counseling to families as they begin to recover from their losses. With widespread power outages, unreliable phone service and extensive road closures, communication and transportation has been very difficult with the hardest hit communities, including Tillamook and Vernonia. “For the Red Cross, it was initially a return to the days of the Pony Express,” said Thomas Bruner, CEO of the Oregon Trail Chapter. “In order to communicate between shelters, operations centers and other key locations, our volunteers literally had to get in their cars and drive.”Here is an overview of current Red Cross activities in Oregon:
- Nine shelters were open for overnight stays on Dec. 6. Volunteers have distributed thousands of meals and snacks to affected people, rescue workers and those assisting in the relief operation.
- Emergency response vehicles have been mobilized across these areas, distributing food and supplies, including clean-up kits, to residents as they begin sorting through debris and collecting their personal items.
- As sheltering and feeding efforts continue, Red Cross case managers are working with individuals and families to meet their continuing needs. The Red Cross will ensure that these families receive the supplies they need, and will refer them to programs offered by other local nonprofit organizations when necessary.
- Trained mental health workers are providing emotional support to individuals who have lost loved ones or are otherwise traumatized by their experience during these floods.
As power and phone service are restored, the Red Cross urges all families in the affected areas to register on the Safe and Well site – accessible at www.redcross.org – to let loved ones know that they’re okay. Friends and family around the country can then use this site to search the list of those who are “safe and well.” An operator at 1-800-RED-CROSS can also help with registration.### All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the Northwest floods, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS 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 http://www.redcross.org.