As much of the country looks forward to Easter weekend, thousands of people in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi are still dealing with the impacts of severe and widespread flooding.
For more than two weeks, communities across the South and Gulf Coast have endured intense rainfall and record-breaking flooding. The Sabine River flooding on the Texas and Louisiana border has broken records held since the 1880s and the Red River in Louisiana hit its highest level in more than 70 years. And this week, portions of the southern U.S. will face the return of severe thunderstorms and flooding, raising additional flooding concerns for already drenched terrain throughout the lower Mississippi Valley.
The American Red Cross is there on the ground, working around the clock to support individuals and families in need. On Tuesday, March 22, more than 270 people spent the evening in 16 Red Cross and community shelters in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Since severe storms and flooding began earlier this month, more than 1,500 Red Cross disaster relief workers, both staff and volunteers have:
- Opened 60 shelters which have provided more than 4,000 overnight stays;
- Distributed more than 70,000 relief items; and
- Served more than 170,000 meals and snacks for impacted residents.
As people return to their neighborhoods, many are finding their homes inundated with muddy brown water and sewage, and their property strewn with heavy piles of debris. Even if their homes don not appear destroyed from the outside, some people have mobile homes that were immersed in several inches or a foot of water and inaccessible for over a week—many of those homes are a total loss because of the duration they spent with water inside.
Monica and Robert Smith lost nearly everything when their Deweyville, Texas home filled with five feet of water last week. “Everything that we own is now in the yard. We only had a few hours to evacuate, so we left it all behind,” says Monica who has lived with her family in Deweyville her entire life and has never seen a flood of this magnitude. In the photo above, Monica shows a Red Cross volunteer just how high the water was. “I am so thankful to this community, my neighbors, and the Red Cross,” says Monica. “I am not sure how I would have handled this situation without help.”
In addition to sheltering, the Red Cross is also helping to operate Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARC) throughout impacted areas. At these resource centers people can sit down a with Red Cross caseworker, as well as with government and community partner organizations that are offering assistance. Recovering from a disaster can be a confusing and trying process; resource centers help streamline relief information and aid so people can more easily find the help they need.
Impacted residents visit MARCs for cleanup supplies, hot meals, emotional counseling and health services, including 75-year-old Maybel Bordelon (pictured above) from Orange, Texas. “Everyone here is so friendly and kind. Everyone is town is talking about the help that Red Cross is providing. We are so thankful you are here.”
You can help
We need your continued support now to help people affected by disasters big and small. Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like flooding and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.