Red Cross volunteers from all over the nation are putting a price tag on the damage left behind by historic flooding in the river valley.
“Now that the water is receding, we’re really focused on doing damage assessment in the community, so we can see how many homes were impacted and how badly they were impacted,” said Rebecca Pittman, Red Cross volunteer and site director for the Fort Smith flood relief project. “We’re really focused on meeting our community’s immediate needs.”
American Red Cross volunteers started assessing neighborhood damage in Fort Smith on Wednesday (June 5).
“You can see those water lines, those telltale marks,” said Andy Brubaker with the Red Cross. “Sometimes, unfortunately, you see dead fish in the middle of the road or in the middle of the ground so you know where the water has been.”
“I’ve seen a variety of damage,” said volunteer Susanne Peters. “From completely non-affected to people who have had pretty major water in their house.”
Peters is a volunteer who came from Chicago. She said classifying home damage is only the first step. The next is to determine the needs of the family.
“From clean up assistance to if they have any government aid to be able to replace food stamps. A variety of assistance,” Peters said.
Brubaker coordinates volunteers and works with local lawmakers to help people in need. He came from southwest Georgia which was hit by Hurricane Michael in late 2018. He said being in the River Valley is his way of giving back.
“It’s heartbreaking to see that. We’re here, and we’re committed as long as we need to be here,” Brubaker said.
Volunteers with the American Red Cross said the best way to help is through financial donations. To donate, click here.