For four-year-old Nicolas Zipperer and his little sister, Salma, moving into the gymnasium at Yavapai Community College is an adventure. There are other youngsters to play with, toys they haven’t seen before, even a stuffed animal for each child.
But for their mother, Mary, evacuation to an American Red Cross shelter is a mixed blessing. She’s profoundly grateful for a safe place to stay, but anxious about what faces her family when the Yarnell Hill wildfire is finally tamed.
While most of her neighbors in Peeple’s Valley, Ariz., went to stay with family or friends when the authorities told them they had to evacuate, “We’ve only lived her six months. We don’t know anybody here,” Mary said.
While her husband goes to work each day, Mary looks after Nic, Salma and their six-month-old baby sister as well as her husband’s uncle, whose medical condition is aggravated by smoke thrown up by the massive fire.
She clings to her faith that their home will be spared. But in the meantime, she appreciates that her children are happily unaware of the fire and that Red Cross volunteers are on hand to cheer her.
When the Carter family of Peeple’s Valley, Ariz., had to abandon their home in the face of the Yarnell Hill wildfire, they took what was most precious with them: eight dogs and two cats.
The entire household has found refuge at Yavapai Community College in Prescott, where the American Red Cross and Animal Disaster Services have teamed up to run side-by-side shelters for humans and pets. For more than 10 years, the partnership has been key to getting pet-lovers to leave home when necessary, because they know their animals will be welcome and well cared for right next door to where they are sheltering.
The Carter family initially went to stay with a friend in Yarnell, but when raging flames threatened that community, they had just half an hour to flee. Sheriff’s deputies directed them to the Red Cross shelter, where there would also be food, water and the compassion of caring volunteers.
“The Red Cross folks make you feel at home,” Carter said, “even when you don’t know if you have a home to go back to.”
Meanwhile, three grandsons and a granddaughter make sure Hunter, Poppy and Cadden get plenty of exercise and affection. Latere, they’ll turn their attention to the four puppies and to the cats.
“People won’t leave their pets behind,” Carter said firmly. “This set-up is great. It’s good for the animals and it’s good for the people.”
More than 200 people have been evacuated from Galena by the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) due to severe Yukon River flooding. Evacuees with friends and family in Anchorage and Fairbanks to stay with were flown out on Monday. Those who had to quickly leave their flooding homes before being able to retrieve necessary medications were also evacuated by the TCC. They are being assisted with shelter and immediate needs by the American Red Cross of Alaska in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
UPDATE: Two Red Cross shelters are operating in Fairbanks for Galena evacuees:
University Community Presbyterian Church- 3510 College Road
Fairhill Community Church of God- 101 City Lights Blvd
Red Cross and other officials are urging Galena evacuees to register their well being at redcross.org/safeandwell. Safe and Well is a Red Cross program that helps to reconnect families and loved ones after disaster.
Once flood waters recede, Red Cross will be able to conduct damage assessment in Galena and begin to distribute cleanup supplies to affected homes.
More ice jams threaten the Lower Kuskokwim River communities as Spring Breakup continues in Alaska’s interior. Communities have been contacted by Red Cross staff and volunteers to review preparedness and emergency plans. Volunteers are on standby to open a shelter in Bethel in the coming days in the instance that these communities must evacuate.
Dr. Amanda Theys, working with Medical Reserve Corps (pictured far right) is facilitating a 24/7 no-cost medical clinic at Moore Community Center in Moore, OK.
Dr. Theys and nurses Stephanie Gehrke and Sally Wallace from Moore Medical Center are giving free tetanus shots to people who are sifting through the debris.
Allie Joyner and Aly Humbles stopped by the clinic to get their eyes flushed after getting dust in them.
The Medical Reserve Corps and the Red Cross are working together to meet the health services needs of people in Oklahoma after the tornadoes.
Red Cross disaster worker Keith Anderson of Kansas is proud to volunteer in the Oklahoma tornado response on Memorial Day!
Beautiful flowers brighten up the Moore Community Center
The OK State Florists’ Association donated these beautiful flowers to the Red Cross shelter at the Moore Community Center to comfort and show gratitude for volunteers.
Many growers of flowers in California, Florida and South America wanted to donate the “Thank You” bouquets.
Red Cross volunteer Larry Fortmuller explains the workings of the Multi Agency Resource Center in Moore, OK.
The Red Cross is operating a shelter now open on Martha’s Vineyard at the Tisbury Elementary.
The address is 40 W William Street, Vineyard Haven.
This brings the total number of shelters with Red Cross volunteers up to four: Nauset, Sandwich and Yarmouth opened earlier today.
Please note there is a public-facing app for shelters you can see on your desktop at http://app.redcross.org/nss-app/#, or you can download the shelter app on iTunes or GooglePlay.
Mr. William Peace used to install and maintain underground cable wiring for a telephone company. Mr. Peace is a resident of Oceanport NJ and lives at the Ashbury Tower, an elderly community. He is now 69 and needs special attention because he is blind. He was evacuated on the 12th of November and he was brought to the Monmouth racetrack shelter.
Mr. Peace is very happy to be at the Monmouth shelter; here he gets assistance 24 hours a day. A Red Cross volunteer is always with him, taking him by the hand everywhere he needs to go. This physical connection to the Red Cross is very special to him, as touch is the primary way he ‘sees’ his world. The Red Cross is making sure that Mr. Peace always has a hand because as he said, “I feel safe in the hands of the American Red Cross.”
Photo and story by Edgar Maldonado