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Local Red Cross volunteers helping after hurricane


The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG, W.Va.  — At least 11 American Red Cross volunteers from West Virginia have been deployed for a massive relief effort in Texas and Louisiana where Hurricane, now Tropical Storm, Harvey wreaked destruction, an official said on Monday.

Three volunteers are from the Northwest West Virginia chapter headquartered in Parkersburg, Executive Director Sharon Kesselring said.

“We will deploy more volunteers when they become available,” she said.

The first volunteers deployed to the areas of destruction specialize in feeding and sheltering, which is the immediate need, Kesselring said. Feeding and sheltering, because of the widespread flooding and destruction, will be the priority for weeks to come and volunteers must be prepared for a deployment of several weeks duration, she said.

“This is going to be a long effort,” she said.

Harvey, the most powerful storm in more than 10 years to hit the mainland United States, made landfall late Friday at Corpus Christi, Texas. The National Hurricane Center downgraded Harvey to a tropical storm on Saturday afternoon.

Thousands of people have been evacuated to shelters, many whose homes remain underwater or no longer exist. At least five people are reported dead and many others injured.

“We are aware of the fact that this is going to take response to a whole new level,” Kesselring said.

The American Red Cross, in anticipation of Harvey striking land, established evacuation centers in Texas and Louisiana. More than 10,000 people have been deployed, Kesselring said.

According to Erica Mani, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross West Virginia Region, the Red Cross is mobilizing disaster relief workers, truckloads of kitchen supplies and tens of thousands of ready-to-eat meals. Shelter supplies include cots and blankets, she said.

“The dedication and compassion of our West Virginia volunteers is an inspiration to us all,” Mani said. “Whether it be responding to a home fire, a flood or a hurricane such as this one these dedicated individuals are always there to provide care and comfort to those in need.”

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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