Red Cross seeks more volunteers as it provides relief for series of disasters

— Photo by Scott Dalton of the American Red Cross
When ash looks like snow: On Sept. 13, Eric Carmichael of the American Red Cross looks out on what was an unspoiled wooded area that burned in the fires near Central Point, Oregon on Sunday.

In just the last month, the American Red Cross has helped tens of thousands of people whose lives were uprooted by massive back-to-back disasters — the Midwest derecho, the continuing and relentless wildfires in the west, Hurricane Laura — and now the not-for-profit organization is mobilizing supplies and volunteers to help again as Hurricane Sally nears the Gulf Coast.

The devastation wrought by these disasters has been further compounded by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a release from the Red Cross, which relays the following information.

There are as many as 100 large fires raging throughout the west which have burned more than 5 million acres in the past few days. The fire threat isn’t over. Red flag warnings are still in effect for parts of California and Oregon. Strong winds and low humidity may help new or existing wildfires to spread.

Just a few weeks ago, Hurricane Laura — one of most powerful storms to ever hit the United States — left terrible devastation across Louisiana and east Texas. Laura struck just days after Tropical Storm Marco affected the same region. Now, Hurricane Sally is again threatening communities along the Gulf Coast with as much as 15 inches of rain and dangerous flooding.

More than 5,000 Red Crossers have supported disaster relief efforts on the ground or virtually since Aug. 19. Many of these dedicated humanitarians have themselves been affected by the ongoing wildfires or hurricanes. With the current disasters and the complexities of COVID-19, more help is needed now.

Currently there is a special need for volunteers to support sheltering efforts. To help keep people safe during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the Red Cross has put in place additional precautions and developed special training for its workforce.

All necessary training (a minimum of five hours) is provided virtually. Potential volunteers should review the CDC guidance for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, consult their health-care provider, and follow local guidance. The Red Cross’s number-one priority is the health and safety of its employees, volunteers, and the people it serves.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross visit; https://bit.ly/redcrossreserve.

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  • VOORHEESVILLE — “The Coronavirus pandemic is still with us and your community needs your help,” said Gary Kubitz, pastor with the First United Methodist Church of Voorheesville who organized a coalition to help the community when the coronavirus pandemic first hit.

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