Red Cross Responds to Several Weekend Disasters

Assists Searchers Looking for Missing Child; Helps Victims of Epic Flooding

A major, historic flood event is ongoing in South Carolina and parts of North Carolina. And the search for a missing child ended successfully in Trumbull County. Volunteers from the American Red Cross assisted there, and with several other disasters over the weekend.

The child, two-year old Rainn Peterson was reported missing Friday night from the family home in North Bloomfield.  Some 60 searchers spent almost 48 hours looking for the little girl, and the Red Cross provided canteen services, including food, water and warmth inside an emergency response vehicle.

In addition, cots were provided to police and FBI agents who stayed at the Emergency Operations Center Saturday night.

On Sunday, just as the sun was setting, a volunteer found the the little girl about a quarter mile from the home. The Trumbull County sheriff said she was doing “as fine as can be expected” after spending nearly two days outdoors, with temperatures that dipped into the lower 40’s and a steady rain on Saturday.

“We all wanted to see heartbreak turn into hope, and that’s exactly what happened,” said Karen Conklin, Executive Director of the Lake to River Chapter of the Red Cross. “That little girl was in our hearts the whole time.  It could have happened to any of us.”

While THAT story ended happily, the flooding on the East Coast is far from over.

This is now the wettest October on record in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, surpassing the previous record of 11.59 inches in 1959 – and it’s only the beginning of the month.

Flash flooding is ongoing and has become serious in many locations, including in Charleston, where numerous swift-water rescues were reported. Roads were closed all over the state, including portions of Interstates 77 and 20. A 75-mile stretch of Interstate 95 between Interstates 20 and 26 was closed. The heavily traveled highway through the eastern portion of the state was not closed during 1989’s Hurricane Hugo.

Widespread rainfall totals since Thursday are between 5 to 10 inches, with locally heavier amounts reported. Some coastal areas from Charleston to Myrtle Beach have recorded 10 to 16 inches. Additional heavy rainfall of between 5 and 10 inches is possible. These extreme rainfall amounts will continue to lead to widespread and catastrophic flooding and flash flooding.  It will take several days for water to recede in the region once the rain ends. A Federal Emergency Declaration has been declared for South Carolina.

“We are helping families across South Carolina that are in need of shelter, disaster relief and comfort,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional chief executive officer of the American Red Cross in South Carolina. “We are also welcoming members of the community who want to help to join us as Red Cross disaster volunteers.”

The American Red Cross has opened 35 emergency shelters, helping people stay safe and dry and providing meals and emotional support. More than 200 people spent the night Sunday in a Red Cross shelter. Nearly 400 Red Cross workers, 22 emergency response vehicles and supplies for 5,000 people have been mobilized.

Additional shelters are on standby and the Red Cross is working closely with government partners to ensure immediate needs of residents are being met.

Volunteers from every Red Cross region in the Midwest, including Northeast Ohio, responded to a variety of disasters over the weekend. We respond to nearly 70,000 disasters every year, from home fires to wildfires, flooding and more.

In addition to flooding, we are still helping people impacted by the wildfires in California, a blizzard in Alaska, and the school shooting in Oregon, where volunteers are providing mental health support and assistance at community events.  And in Florida, more than a dozen Red Cross volunteers are providing emotional support and other assistance for the families of the seamen aboard the cargo ship El Faro, which sank during Hurricane Joaquin last week.

You can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

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