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Red Cross asks for donations to help flood victims

on Tuesday, 06 September 2016. Posted in Local News, Opinions

As the first anniversary of some of the worst flooding in South Carolina history approaches, a small army of nearly 80 Red Cross volunteers and staff from the Palmetto region, who provided humanitarian services to hardest hit areas of the state, are now on the ground in Louisiana, where flooding has killed at least 13 people and destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of homes. We in South Carolina know only too well the devastation and heartache that such a disaster causes.

When our state experienced flooding last October, 1,700 Red Cross volunteers came to our aid, staffing shelters, distributing relief supplies and caring for our citizens. Generous individuals, companies and organizations from across the country came together to raise the money needed to help our friends and neighbors who were flooded out of their homes. Now we’re asking you to help us help those in need in Louisiana.

The Red Cross and its partners are responding to the plight of victims in Louisiana, having provided over 50,000 overnight shelter stays and more than 400-thousand meals and snacks to residents forced out of their homes. Receding floodwaters continue to reveal the frightening scope of losses. Experts say it is the largest natural disaster in the U.S. since super storm Sandy in 2012, and that damage and property losses are at least four times greater than those caused by flooding in South Carolina last fall.

In a relief effort that is estimated to cost at least $30 million, Red Cross volunteers are continuing to supply housing, food and supplies, including personal hygiene items and comfort kits and a variety of emergency services to people in Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes. Mental health and other medical experts are meeting with victims to provide emotional support and to help replace medical devices that were lost when people were forced to evacuate their homes.

In addition to relief efforts on site, more than 25 Red Cross volunteers are staffing calls centers at Red Cross offices or in their homes in South Carolina, communicating with flooding victims, family members and others, providing updated information and answering their questions. As of Aug. 24, the Red Cross has received approximately $10.6 million in designated donations and pledges to support Louisiana. Designated donations are the first dollars used to support Red Cross response efforts.

If costs exceed designated donations, then Disaster Relief funds will be used to cover the difference. Donations can be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS; or online at www.redcross.org. A single donation of $10 can be made by mobile phone by texting 90999. Contributions can also be mailed to your local Red Cross chapter at 1601A West Lucas St., Florence, SC 29501. Many thousands of families and individuals in Louisiana have suffered catastrophic losses and the Red Cross is committed to helping alleviate their suffering and long-term recovery.

We are grateful for the generous support of donors, but there remains an urgent need for contributions now and going forward. Please consider a gift today to help those impacted by the flooding in Louisiana. Glynn F. Willis Volunteer Leader, Florence County

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