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Red Cross: Helping Our Neighboring State

The American Red Cross has opened cases for disaster relief in Seneca and Taney counties, as well as several more in Western Oklahoma.
SWMO Red Cross / Photo credit: Red Cross

The American Red Cross has opened cases for disaster relief in Seneca and Taney counties, as well as several more in Western Oklahoma. While work will continue with individual cases here in Missouri, Red Cross has 25 volunteers on standby to respond in Moore, Oklahoma. KSMU”s Shannon Bowers has this story.

With the two year anniversary of the Joplin tornado Wednesday, the assistance provided from neighboring states during times of need is fresh in the minds of the American Red Cross.   

That is why they are asking people to help during this very large response effort for Western Oklahoma. Nigel Holderby from the Southwest Missouri Red Cross knows that in the next few weeks and perhaps months, food, shelter, and emotional support will be essential for those affected by the recent disaster.

“Having such a traumatic experience, we’re trying to make the Red Cross shelter as safe and as warm feeling as possible, giving that emotional support. Sometimes it may even just be a hug. We never want to say things will get back to normal soon. It’s not something that will ever be normal again. Once you survive and live through a disaster you have to work toward a new normal,” said Holerby

Holderby says there are 25 Southern Missouri Red Cross Volunteers waiting to relieve the Western Oklahoma Volunteers. She says that the people in the affected areas still want to help their neighbors. But as the weeks goes on, she knows the exhaustion will kick in and additional support will be needed.

Holderby says the best way for people to help is through monetary support. For more information on how to donate, visit our website at KSMU.org.


The official death toll of the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma is currently at 24

Official NPR Story

If you are interested in volunteering, we ask at the request of the local Emergency Management in Oklahoma that you not self-deploy. This can cause delays in the current efforts which are search, rescue and recovery.

Please visit (http://www.redcross.org/support/volunteer ) or your local office’s page and complete the volunteer application.

Inside the Affected Area:
If you are inside the affected area, the best thing to do is to sign up online right now. This will be where the list is pulled from once we are able to put folks to work and provide them with a little bit of training. You should expect to receive a call within a week at most, please be patient; they are dealing with a lot and are going to be trying their best to answer calls for assistance until a Spontaneous Volunteer Centers is set up. Listen to the news and as soon as something is set up as far as a volunteer center goes, please follow the local instructions.

Outside the Affected Area:
The Red Cross depends upon a highly skilled and trained volunteer workforce. The best bet is for folks to sign up with their local chapter now, and get trained for the next disaster. Chances are you will not be deployed to this disaster because of the time it takes to train a volunteer for a job function, but we always encourage preparedness for the next time.

You can help people affected by disasters like this devastating tornado as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.