HARLINGEN — Sunshine and clear skies can make one forget that just last week the Valley was dealing with severe weather and heavy rainfall that caused floods.
Unfortunately for some residents, the flooding caused severe damage leading them to seek outside assistance from organizations such as the Red Cross.
Less than a week after the severe weather, the American Red Cross has served more than 1,700 meals and snacks and has provided more than 600 with overnight shelter stays.
According to Red Cross representative Ekland Durousseau, 133 volunteers have been dispatched to areas around the Valley to help assist in serving meals to those in need and staffing shelters.
But they still need more help.
“The more people that are able to support the community the better,” Durousseau said.
Adding volunteers to the rotation keeps the organization from overwhelming those who are already on staff.
“We always need more people,” Durousseau said. “You don’t want to overtire people.”
While the waters have since receded in most parts of the Valley, the low populations in some shelters have volunteers helping transition residents still in city-owned facilities to other sites to allow the buildings to return to their original usage.
“We want to make sure that we are utilizing our resources properly,” Durousseau said.
Despite the water receding, volunteers are still needed to help assess the damage.
The organization keeps a map with updated information on where resources might be needed the most.
Volunteers are dispatched into areas where possible damage could have occurred and are being told to mark it on a map.
“People still have water in their yard,” Durousseau said. “They’re going out throughout all the community and mapping it out to know which communities to target with additional services.”
There is a strong need for volunteers who speak Spanish to help better assist residents and eliminate any communication barriers.
“We would love to have more people from the community come out and support their friends and neighbors,” Durousseau said.