INFORMATION UPDATE: Flooding in South Carolina

Red Cross

Letter from Red Cross

Hi Sunshine & Dave,

Thank you again for your generous support of our relief and recovery efforts in South Carolina. I wanted to send you confirmation that we received your check today and provide you with the latest update on our work there. I’ve included today’s update below and attached our most recent donor bulletin.

Thank you again for your continued support! PS I’m still waiting on the sticker mockup and will hopefully have it to you soon!



INFORMATION UPDATE: Flooding in South Carolina

Monday, October 19, 2015, 2:00 PM ET

Flooding in South Carolina

The American Red Cross remains dedicated to providing help and support for people in South Carolina who have been impacted by October’s severe storms and historic flooding. Although floodwaters are receding in many locations, some of the hardest hit areas are still under several feet of water more than two weeks after the storm impacted the region. On Sunday night more than 140 people found a safe and dry place to sleep, food to eat, health services and emotional support in three Red Cross and community shelters in South Carolina.

The Red Cross is distributing meals and relief supplies both at central distribution sites and throughout affected communities via emergency response vehicles. Supplies being distributed include comfort kits containing personal hygiene items, as well as cleaning supplies such as tarps, flashlights, trash bags, shovels, rakes, bleach and work gloves.

Red Cross caseworkers are also meeting one-on-one with people out of Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs) to create recovery plans, navigate paperwork and connect them with resources. In some situations, the Red Cross is providing direct financial support to people who need extra help. To date, the Red Cross has provided more than 5,500 health and mental health services for those in need; including for longtime Red Cross volunteer Eva Gadsen:

  • Eva Gadsen, 72, of Columbia, South Carolina, volunteered with the Red Cross a decade ago after Hurricane Katrina impacted New Orleans and surrounding areas. Now she is dealing with the massive flooding that destroyed her own home and placed her in a Red Cross shelter for five days.
  • “If it wasn’t for Red Cross, I really don’t know what would happen here,” she said.
  • Eva received help for her blood pressure, in addition to other assistance at a Red Cross shelter. Expecting to move in with one of her five children, Eva is looking ahead to starting over as the Columbia area starts its recovery.

Since the flooding began in South Carolina, the Red Cross has worked with community partners to:

  • Serve more than 145,000 meals and snacks;
  • Hand out more than 118,000 relief items and
  • Open nearly 650 cases to help families impacted by the disaster.

The path to recovery for people impacted by this historic flooding will be long and challenging, but they won’t face it alone. The Red Cross and our government and community partners will ensure our friends and neighbors across the Carolinas have a helping hand, warm place to sleep and clear plan to get back on their feet and return to daily life in the weeks and months ahead.

Responding to Other Disasters

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters every year, many of which are less visible in the news media. From multi-family fires, to search and rescue missions, severe weather and more, the Red Cross is there to provide hope and help for families in the aftermath of a disaster. In addition to large-scale relief efforts taking place, below is a list of other disasters Red Cross workers have responded to over the weekend:

Arizona – Severe Weather: A severe storm in Maricopa County caused damages to homes and left thousands of residents without power on Sunday. The American Red Cross deployed local Red Cross workers who provided casework and bulk distribution.

Kentucky – Hazardous Materials: A natural gas main ruptured and may have disrupted service to residential as well as commercial properties in Shelby County on Friday. The Red Cross provided shelter, food and casework for residents within the affected area.

Texas – Industrial Fires / Multi-Family Fires: A multiple structure fire at a regional shopping complex in the city of Canton caused the evacuation of vendors temporarily housed there on Saturday morning. The Red Cross provided shelter, food, casework and support services to the displaced vendors. In a separate incident, a large apartment fire occurred in Travis County that resulted in multiple injuries of residents and firefighters on Sunday. Local Red Cross disaster provided casework and support services to the affected residents. In another incident, fire destroyed multiple units in Harris County on Monday. The Red Cross provided food, casework and bulk distribution to affected residents.

Washington – Civil Disturbance: A hostage situation took place in the city of Yakima early Friday morning prompting the evacuation of an apartment complex. The Red Cross provided breakfast and coffee as well as emotional support to the evacuees.

Wisconsin – Multi-Family Fires: A fire at an apartment complex affected multiple units and prompted an evacuation in Outagamie County on Friday.  The Red Cross deployed local disaster workers who provided casework and support services to affected families. Another fire affected multiple units in the city of Milwaukee on Saturday. The Red Cross provided casework and support services. In another incident, an apartment fire affected 14 units in the city of Oak Creek on Friday. The Red Cross provided client assistance cards to those affected by the fire. Last, a fire at a 30-unit apartment complex displaced dozens of residents in Milwaukee County on Sunday. The Red Cross provided casework assistance to residents as needed.

Recovery Safety

After the Flood

  • Return home only when officials say it’s safe.
  • Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
  • Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
  • If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
  • Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
  • Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
  • Do not use water that may be contaminated for drinking, dishes, brushing teeth, cooking, washing hands, making ice or making baby formula.
  • Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Watch for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes, that could be in your neighborhood after flooding.

Stories & Videos

Red Cross South Carolina Floods Story Map

Red Cross Services Available at Multi-Agency Resource Centers, Published October 19, 2015

Shelter List for South Carolina, Published October 19, 2015

Multi Agency Resource Center Lake City SC (video), Published October 14, 2015

Timothy Gibson Jr. and his Red Cross Story (video), Published October 14, 2015