American Red Cross volunteers are focusing efforts on helping those recovering from the massive flooding the struck portions of Missouri and Illinois.
On Sunday, the Red Cross is operating shelters in Arnold and Cape Girardeau in Missouri and Granite City and Murphysboro in Illinois.
So far the Red Cross has provided 586 overnight stays in shelters and 17,701 meals and snacks in response to this flooding.
"The Red Cross disaster relief efforts rely on the generous donors who support us and for that we want to extend our heartfelt thanks," said Cindy Erickson, Regional CEO, Red Cross of Eastern Missouri. "For those who have donated to this relief effort, we thank you."
Red Cross disaster assessment teams continue checking flood damage to homes to help determine the extent and location of assistance needed. Red Cross volunteers will also be distributing comfort kits and clean-up supplies, and meeting with those affected to help them plan their next steps in the recovery process. They also have begun meal delivery to affected neighborhoods.
As families plan their return home, the Red Cross reminds everyone to be careful. Danger still exists.
· Never drive through water. If caught while driving on a road with rapidly rising water, get out of the vehicle quickly and move to higher ground. Remember: Turn around, don't drown.
· Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
· Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage. Parts of your home may have collapsed or are damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
· Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with floodwater.
· If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department or 911.
· If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
· 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 risks.
· During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
· 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.
· Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or baby formula.
· Contact your local or state public health department for specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area after a disaster.
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