Local Red Cross disaster workers sent to assist storm victims in the south

Mark and Mary Howell, a married couple of Centerville, Ohio sanitize cots at a Red Cross warehouse in Baton Rouge, LA.  Mark is a shelter supervisor, Mary is shelter service associate.  CONTRIBUTED

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Mark and Mary Howell, a married couple of Centerville, Ohio sanitize cots at a Red Cross warehouse in Baton Rouge, LA. Mark is a shelter supervisor, Mary is shelter service associate. CONTRIBUTED

About 20 Red Cross volunteers from the region have been deployed to the Gulf Coast to assist residents impacted by two tropical storms, one that has made landfall and another expected to make landfall this week.

The volunteers are headed to Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi in response to Tropical Storm Marco and Tropical Storm Laura and the number of volunteers continues to grow, said Marita Salkowski, communications and marketing director for the Central and Southern Ohio Region of the American Red Cross.

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She said the Red Cross has pre-positioned relief supplies and more than 400 trained disaster workers are ready to provide emergency shelter and other disaster relief to those living along the Gulf Coast.

To ensure people have a safe place to stay, more than a dozen shelter teams are in Baton Rouge, with more spread out across the expected impacted areas, according to Salkowski. She said the Red Cross has also pre-positioned shelter and relief supplies all along the Gulf Coast to help people in need.

She said COVID-19 has not changed the goal of the Red Cross that’s providing the same types of support as before the pandemic. But because of the coronavirus, the Red Cross is abiding by Centers for Disease Control guidelines that include face coverings, health screenings, and opening more shelters that will house fewer people than normal so special social distancing protocols can be maintained.

“How we go about delivering our mission has changed, but the results are the same,” she said.

Within the last month, she said, the Central and Southern Ohio Region of the American Red Cross, which includes 47 counties in Ohio and Kentucky, has deployed, virtually and in-person, 59 volunteers to disasters around the country, including hurricanes, wildfires and a gas explosion.


HOW TO HELP

For more information on how to donate to the Red Cross, visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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