Recent flooding in the Midwest has been described as worse than the “500-year flood” of 1993. Heavy rains have pushed all three of the Midwest’s major rivers -- the Missouri, Illinois and Mississippi -- above flood stage, leaving residents in Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin struggling from the destruction. It’s also left the American Red Cross struggling in funds to assist the flood victims.
“The Red Cross is in urgent need of donations to help with this massive project,” says Patti Griffin, director of public support for the Quad City Chapter of the Red Cross. “It’s estimated to take $15 million for cleanup.”
More than 24,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the hardest hit city of Cedar Rapids, IA where flooding has caused more than $736 million in damage. National Guard and volunteers sandbagged towns across five states in the Midwest and Iowa's governor has declared 83 of the state's 99 counties disaster areas.
“Iowa is the heart of the area in need but there is also work being done in several surrounding states,” Griffin says. “The disaster keeps spreading.”
She urges people to donate to the National Disaster Relief Fund as opposed to local Red Cross chapters so that money can be distributed across the areas as efficiently as possible.
“It’s with the help of the American public that we are able to respond to the disasters in the Midwest, as well as the disasters that occur every day in local communities across the country that you may not hear about,” said Joe Becker, senior vice president, Disaster Services for the American Red Cross.
To donate to the National Disaster Relief Fund, call 1-800-GIVENOW. or visit the American Red Cross site.