More than two weeks after tornadoes struck eastern NC, damaging and destroying, hundreds of homes in Beaufort, Chowan, Perquimans and Pasquotank counties, the American Red Cross continues to help residents recover.
Volunteers met with and reached out personally to dozens of families to discuss disaster recovery planning and provide individualized support.
In response to the tornadoes, the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross has:
- Served 4,929 meals and snacks.
- Opened 99 cases providing individualized support to 258 residents including direct financial assistance.
- Mobilized 161 disaster workers from across the region.
- Distributed 2,384 supplies including blankets, comfort kits with hygiene items, clean up kits and items including gloves, hand sanitizer, storage containers, sunscreen, bug spray, heavy duty trash bags, tarps, rope, duct tape, first aid kits, rakes.
- Made 192 health and mental health contacts providing access to medical services and emotional support.
Disaster Mental Health Support
A tornado leaves people bewildered, confused and afraid. Often much of what they have is gone, and sometimes friends and family are killed or injured. For those affected, the future is unknown, but the fear is present.
Additionally, a disaster can take away a person’s sense of control and what’s known and comfortable to them. Those affected by a tornado often feel emotionally and physically drained or incapable of making decisions.
Most people are eventually able to cope but for other is takes longer and isn’t something they can do alone. That’s where the Red Cross helps with Disaster Mental Health volunteers, which include psychologists, counselors and other experts. Teams go where the people are, including shelters, client service centers or out in the damaged areas.
If a person needs additional assistance, the Red Cross provides the names of local resources that can offer long-term assistance.
Severe weather is all too frequent in eastern NC, and directly following disasters people are more receptive to learn how they can prevent and respond to future emergencies. The Red Cross has taken this time to canvass tornado damaged communities to speak directly with residents about preparedness and how to stay safe during severe weather.
Teams of volunteers spent several weekends going door to door in affected communities handing out flyers with preparedness information, talking to residents about ways to secure their homes and keep their families safe, and showing them how to download Red Cross preparedness apps on their mobile devices.
Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.