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Five Arizona Red Cross Workers Head to California

15 February 2017   Colin Williams

Four Red Cross Shelters Open in California Thousands Evacuated Due to Compromised Oroville Dam Spillway

Estimated 4,800+ in shelters; Evacuations could last two weeks

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – An estimated 4,800 people in northern California are in 28 Red Cross and community shelters after being forced to leave their homes due to compromised Oroville Dam spillways which could potentially cause catastrophic flooding. At least 188,000 people have been ordered to evacuate and officials report it could be up to two weeks before they can return home. 

“We have four shelters open now where people can find a safe place to stay, get meals, health services and a shoulder to lean on,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, disaster operations and logistics for the Red Cross. “More workers and relief supplies are arriving soon – cots, blankets, personal hygiene items, kitchen supplies – enough to support thousands of people. Many of these folks left their homes with very little and we are working to make them comfortable. Conditions remain uncertain with weather predictions calling for snow, winds and more rain, and we are continuing to monitor the situation very closely.”

As of noon on Tuesday, four Red Cross shelters are open, while the majority of the other shelters are being managed by other organizations, separate from the Red Cross. With each day, the Red Cross will work with its partners and community organizations to come together to support those evacuated. 

The Red Cross is also working with partners to provide an array of services, including pet care and in-kind donations from the community. Services are available for people with access and functional needs. There are 130 Red Cross workers on the ground currently, with more on the way in the coming days. Ten Red Cross emergency response vehicles are on the scene supporting feeding operations. The Red Cross and its partners provided 3,600 meals on Monday, and later this week will be prepared to feed as many as 15,000 people a day.

FIND A SHELTER If someone needs to find a shelter, they can visit redcross.org or contact their local Red Cross Chapter. Red Cross health service volunteers in the shelters are assisting those with medical conditions and helping replace medications, one item people can forget to bring when evacuating so quickly. If someone is staying with friends or family, they can visit Red Cross shelters during the day for information or a hot meal.

People can also download the Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information available on their mobile device, including open shelter locations, emergency weather alerts and safety information. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

MAKE A DONATION We are thankful to those who would like to donate items for people evacuated in California – but the Red Cross is not equipped to manage, support, and distribute donated items. Instead, our priority is to get those affected settled at emergency shelters, and to provide supplies to meet immediate needs. Right now, the best way to help is through a financial donation. 

The Red Cross depends on donations to prepare for and provide immediate relief from disasters. Help people affected by California floods by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word CAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters. 

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 or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

orovilledam infographic

Infographic by  Alfred Twu

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