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Red Cross accepting donations for WV flood victims

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Residents unaffected by the storms in southern West Virginia can help their less fortunate neighbors.

Donations can be made to the American Red Cross for disaster relief, said Sharon Kesselring, executive director of the American Red Cross of Northwest West Virginia.

“Even the smallest donation brings hope to those in need,” Kesselring said.

A severe storm passed through southern West Virginia overnight Wednesday and Thursday morning. While some damage occurred in Wood County, most of the damage was south of the county, including in Jackson County where a boy died after being swept away by fast-moving water.

Flooding from the storm in southern West Virginia may have been the worst in a century, according to Chris Stadelman, a spokesman for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Tomblin declared an emergency and mobilzed the National Guard.

Residents needing help can contact local offices of emergency management, the governor’s office said. According to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the phone numbers for local counties are Calhoun, 304-354-9637; Doddridge, 304-873-1391; Gilmer, 304-462-0400; Jackson, 304-373-2208; Ritchie, 304-659-2115; Roane, 304-927-0918; Tyler, 304-758-5155; Wirt, 401-212-0843; Wood, 304-420-0911.

“We understand many counties continue to experience significant problems and some waters continue to rise. Joanne (his wife) and I are thinking continually about those affected by this disaster, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones,” Tomblin said.

Money is among the best ways to help and goes a long way helping victims, Kesselring said.

“We are asking folks to consider donations to disaster relief,” she said. “Every single donation brings hope to those in need.”

Donations can be made several ways, including at redcross.org, Kesselring said.

Donations can also be sent by text to the Red Cross, she said. By texting redcross to 90999, a $10 donation will be made to the Red Cross that will be billed to the cell phone, Kesselring said. The agency has organized a fundraiser through WTAP where donations can be made by driving to the outside of the station from noon-6:30 p.m. today, she said.

Volunteers from the American Red Cross of Northwest West Virginia have become involved in the response to the intense storm, Kesselring said.

They are assisting at shelters and working with government and community agencies on damage assessments which determine the extent and location of damages, she said.

“We can’t do it alone,” she said.

More volunteers are needed, Kesselring said.

“We have also opened a link on our website for people who would like to volunteer,” she said. “Please visit redcrosswv.org to register to help.”

Volunteers are involved in providing a safe shelter, food, distribution of emergency relief supplies, emotional support, health services and recovery assistance, Kesselring said.

Case workers are waiting for conditions to allow them to access and meet with affected residents, Kesselring said.

Three shelters were in operation Friday afternoon at the Elkview Middle School, the Marlinton Middle School and the Newton Community Shelter in Roane County, Kesselring said.

Separate from the Red Cross, Rock N’ Paws and Friends, a group of pageant kings and queens who do community service, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. today at Southside Foodland and the Vienna Foodland will collect supplies for those affected by the flooding, Janette Hart of the group said.

The group is looking for water, toiletries, cleaning supplies, baby food, wipes and formula and non-perishable food, she said.

The items will be collected by the National Guard, which will distribute them, Hart said.

West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is another agency aiding with recovery. It is working with emergency management agencies to coordinate resources with disaster relief agencies. The organization is asking individuals to help by making a donation to the WV VOAD Disaster Relief Fund or register as a volunteer.

To Donate 

Donations can be made at redcross.org by texting redcross to 90999. A $10 donation will be be billed to the cell phone.

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