Local volunteers assist with Red Cross response to devastating flooding in Eastern Kentucky

By Alana Mauger

Home moved to the edge of the road by floodwaters in Bulan, KY.
Photo by Kevin Suttlehan/American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is working around the clock with our partners to provide shelter, meals and critical support to help those who have been impacted by the tragic flooding in at least nine counties Eastern Kentucky. This is an evolving situation with the threat of more flooding, even as challenging conditions are preventing rescuers from reaching some areas.

More than 250 trained Red Cross disaster workers – including nine volunteers from Southeastern Pennsylvania – are assisting with relief efforts, and more are expected to join in the coming days. The Red Cross is providing those affected by this tragedy with a safe place to stay, food to eat and emotional support, and is helping with replacing prescription medications, eyeglasses or critical medical equipment that were left behind in the rush to get to safety.

Our local volunteers are assisting both on the ground and virtually.  In Kentucky, Fred Lehman and Mary Noll are part of the Logistics team, serving in the areas of warehouse services and national fleet operations, respectively. Heidi Dampman is also on the ground, serving as a shelter and feeding supervisor with the Mass Care team. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Will Dobnak and Kate Byrnes will join them as members of the Disaster Health Services team, and on Thursday, Harry Roosevelt will travel to Kentucky to serve on the Disaster Assessment team.

Virtually, Rich Barnett and Jayne Cabnet are working with the Recovery team on reunification, assisting people who have filed cases looking for missing loved ones. And Janice Winston worked virtually early in the disaster recovery operation with the External Relations team.  Links to local news coverage about our volunteers’ efforts are listed below.

This is an evolving and challenging situation, with extremely hot weather hitting the area where thousands are still without power and water, all the while rescuers continue to search for survivors. Preliminary damage assessments indicate that approximately 350 homes were either destroyed or suffered major damage.

Since Thursday, the Red Cross and our partners have provided a total of more than 2,200 overnight stays for residents forced to leave their homes due to the flooding. On Monday night alone, 590 residents stayed in numerous shelters across Eastern Kentucky.

This deadly flooding — along with the heavy rainfall in Missouri, explosive wildfires in California and the ongoing Northwest heatwave — are clear examples of how more intense climate-related disasters are happening more often. The Red Cross is seeing firsthand how families and communities are suffering, and our volunteers are continuously there to offer comfort for people forced from their homes.

You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

For those interested in helping people specifically affected by the recent floods, we ask that they write “Kentucky floods” in the memo line of a check and mail it to their local Red Cross chapter with a completed donation form to the address on the form or to their local Red Cross chapter.

Local news coverage links:

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