Red Cross mounts massive relief operation


COLUMBIA — The American Red Cross has mounted a massive relief operation to help people affected by historic flooding and rainfall in South Carolina. The Red Cross opened 30 shelters and mobilized more than 400 workers and 23 emergency response vehicles to deliver food and supplies to families in need.

“The devastation spanning the state is on a scale that we have never experienced before and the Red Cross taking care of the people of South Carolina,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional chief executive officer of the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross.

The shelters are providing for the immediate needs of those affected, including a safe, dry place to stay, food, water, medicines and health services, cleaning supplies, emotional support and other support resources. Impacted residents are welcome to stop by during the day even if they choose to spend the night elsewhere.

Residents planning to stay at a shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, hygiene supplies and important documents, in addition to items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique needs.

Shelter locations are on the shelter map at redcross.org. You can also download the Red Cross Emergency App for smart phones to find shelters in your area. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

People affected by the flooding in South Carolina can call 855-773-3175 to learn about Red Cross services available in their area.

The Red Cross has more than 400 workers on the ground across the state responding to the disaster.

“The community has been very generous with their time by answering our call for volunteers and we are putting them to work,” said Welch Williams. “ We have enough volunteers to support our operation at this time, but there are other ways people can help through donations or giving blood.”

Volunteers are answering phones calls about information or donations, managing shelters and conducting damage assessments. Shelter volunteers are assisting with registration, setting up sleeping areas and feeding. Disaster assessment volunteers are in Lowcountry neighborhoods affected by flooding to review and assess the amount and severity of the damage.

Right now, the Red Cross is no longer recruiting community volunteers who are interested in spontaneously volunteering for flood operations. People who want to volunteer now are encouraged to contact other community groups who may need volunteers.

People interested in ongoing or longer-term volunteering opportunities can visit RedCross.org/SC and click on “Volunteer” to start their application. Training is free and open to the public. A background check will be performed on all applicants. New volunteers will be contacted by a member of the Red Cross team to be assigned to a task.

How You Can Help

Make A Financial Donation To The Red Cross

After a major disaster, financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most. You can help people affected by disasters like the flooding in South Carolina and countless other crises by making a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

How To Donate Other Items

The Red Cross only accepts large, bulk donations of new items if they are suitable to the needs of a specific disaster. We do not accept small quantities or collections of new or used products, like household goods, clothing or food. The Red Cross works closely with local community groups and organizations that do accept in-kind donations. Please visit nvoad.org for a list of organizations accepting in-kind donations.

Give Blood Now

The severe flooding has forced the cancellation Red Cross blood drives in South Carolina causing about hundreds of blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. As flooded roadways and power outages continue, additional blood drives may be cancelled in the coming days. All eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by flooding are encouraged to call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment to give blood.

The Red Cross moved blood products into the region to ensure blood would be available in the event of widespread flooding. In South Carolina, there some challenges transporting blood to hospitals with hundreds of road closures across the state. The Red Cross’ priority is to deliver emergency products and transport routine requests as conditions allow.

More than 24 inches of rain have fallen in parts of South Carolina — one of the most extensive and intense periods of rain in the history of the Southeast United States. Tens of thousands of people have been impacted. Emergency crews are still busy rescuing residents from inundated neighborhoods and dealing with broken waterlines, more than 500 impassable roads and recovering from 30,000 power outages. Flash flood watches remain in effect throughout South Carolina and rivers are expected to continue rise with the risk of dam compromises over the next several days — that means that residents are still in danger.

Emergency crews are still busy rescuing residents from inundated neighborhoods and dealing with broken waterlines, more than 500 impassable roads and recovering from 30,000 power outages. Flash flood watches remain in effect throughout South Carolina and rivers are expected to continue rise with the risk of dam compromises over the next several days – that means that residents are still in danger.

For more updates, follow the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross on Twitter at @RedCrossSC.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/SC or follow us on Twitter @RedCrossSC.

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