Red Cross Prepares as Sabine River Rises
Disaster Volunteers are preparing to respond to flooding in Deweyville, along the Sabine River. The American Red Cross volunteers and staff have been on standby since mid last week as rains fell across Texas.
Throughout the weekend you could find Red Cross workers checking water flows, roads for accessibility and preparing supplies for shelter openings. Activitities are in final stages today as the shelter trailer is ready to roll, volunteers are coordinating the weeks schedule for 24 hour coverage, meal prep is taking place and everyone waits for the call of activation. That call will be made when the Orange County Chapter Executive, Janie Johnson and her team pull the trigger.
The Sabine River is fed by the Toledo Bend Dam above Burkeville. Sunday morning Johnson and Programs Manager, Ashlee Leonard stood and observed the Dam gushing with eleven gates open at six feet. “It is like taking a time machine back to my first disaster assignment with the Red Cross. A flood on the Sabine that Red Cross worked for three weeks,” Johnson commented.
As the two worked their way down river from the dam Johnson turned on back roads as though she were headed home. Leonard made notes of road signs and landmarks so that she and others that are not familiar with the area could find their way back to the low areas of the River bottoms. They noted the creeks backing up and roads with water starting to creep out beyond the ditches.
“Volunteers are on standby in our Chapter and neighboring Chapters to respond for sheltering and feeding. We are working with venders to secure one hot meal a day with a volunteer packed sack meal or MRE.” Leonard explained.
As the two made a stop along the way a man approached to ask what the lastest news on the water was. He explained he knew it was bad because he had been watching his animals. As they shared the forecast all agreed that the weather authorities and the animal forecast of the farmer were the same, high flood waters.
In Deweyville the Red Cross truck slowed as two young boys tossed a football across the road. In a day or two that road will be under water and those boys may find themselves in a Red Cross Shelter. “Historically many residents will boat in and out of the area to return home each night. But some will have water in their homes and not be able to return for days, if not weeks,” Johnson explained. Officials are currently expecting 200 homes to be affected for up to 2 weeks by the flood waters.
At this time the Orange County Chapter of the Red Cross plans to open a shelter in the Deweyville area, provide meals from the Red Cross Truck, and upon water receding and the return to home clean up kits to help families restore their homes. Financial is not anticipated at this time but cost for the sheltering, feeding, and clean up kits will be at least $10,000. The American Red Cross does not receive federal disaster assistance, all assistance is provided by the donated dollar. If you would like to assist victims of this flooding, local house fires or other disasters please contact the American Red Cross at (409) 883-2322 or 3901 IH 10 East Orange, TX 77630.