Local Red Cross helps Louisiana flood victims

Local Red Cross helps Louisiana flood victims

Anytime a major weather disaster strikes, the American Red Cross responds.  Some left Northeast Ohio to lend a hand to Louisiana flood victims, including American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region CEO Mike Parks.

On Day 18 of the worst natural disaster since Super Storm Sandy, about 1,500 people are still living in shelters. The number of people helping, just from the American Red Cross, exceeds that -- 13 of the more than 2,500 Red Cross workers still in Louisiana are from Northeast Ohio.

This storm dumped more than 25 inches of rain in some parts of Louisiana, placed about 10,000 people in shelters and killed 13 people. 

"The devastation is unbelievable,” said Parks.

Parks left Northeast Ohio and arrived in Baton Rouge on Friday, Aug. 26.  He shared his experience with Channel 3 via FaceTime Wednesday evening.  He says they have delivered more than 300,000 meals.

"We are still feeding, and we are still finding pockets of people that have not been helped yet,” said Parks.

He plans to stay into next week because the need is still there.

"There is so little we are doing in the broad scheme of things, but every bit that we do is making a difference so it is really helping, and I appreciate the support we are getting from our friends and family back in Northeast,” said Parks.

In a place where a storm destroyed more than 60,000 homes, 7,000 businesses and more than a dozen lives, Parks says a resiliency lives.   

He added, "When you walk into a shelter, and you see people who have lost everything, and they come up and give you a hug and you do not even know them, and they just say thank you. Every little bit makes a difference."

Parks says the disaster is going to cost the Red Cross more than $30 million.

That is money Parks says they did not budget for. 

If you would like to help you can make a donation by texting:  LAfloods to 90999.  And if you cannot give money, Parks say giving blood helps tremendously.


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