In just the last month, the American Red Cross has helped tens of thousands of people whose lives were uprooted by massive back-to-back disasters — the Midwest Derecho, the continuing and relentless wildfires in the west, Hurricane Laura — and now we are mobilizing supplies and volunteers to help again as Hurricane Sally nears the Gulf Coast. The devastation wrought by these disasters has been further compounded by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
There are as many as 100 large fires raging throughout the west which have burned more than 5 million acres in the past few days. The fire threat isn’t over. Red flag warnings are still in effect for parts of California and Oregon. Strong winds and low humidity may help new or existing wildfires to spread.
Just a few weeks ago, Hurricane Laura — one of most powerful storms to ever hit the U.S. — left terrible devastation across Louisiana and east Texas. Laura struck just days after Tropical Storm Marco affected the same region. Now, Hurricane Sally is again threatening communities along the Gulf Coast with as much as 15 inches of rain and dangerous flooding.
More than 5,000 Red Crossers have supported disaster relief efforts on the ground or virtually since August 19. Many of these dedicated humanitarians have themselves been affected by the ongoing wildfires or hurricanes. With the current disasters and the complexities of COVID-19, more help is needed now.
Currently there is a special need for volunteers to support sheltering efforts. To help keep people safe during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the Red Cross has put in place additional precautions and developed special training for our workforce.
All necessary training (minimum five hours) is provided virtually. Potential volunteers should review the CDC guidance for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, consult their health care provider and follow local guidance. The Red Cross’s number one priority is the health and safety of its employees, volunteers and the people it serves.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross visit; https://bit.ly/redcrossreserve