Helping to Heal the Emotional Scars of Hurricane Harvey

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By Gordon Williams

The task of most Red Cross volunteers in a disaster zone is to provide victims with food, water and shelter. The task of volunteer Ginger Van Ry in a disaster zone is to provide skilled emotional support to victims whose response to disaster can range from stoic acceptance to deep, crippling depression. Continue reading

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Help for Honing your Earthquake Survival Skills

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By Gordon Williams

The Great Washington ShakeOut–the moment each year when we’re supposed to practice our earthquake survival skills–comes this year at 10:19 a.m. on Thursday, October 19.

Keeping your drop, cover and hold-on skills up to speed is a pretty compelling notion in a region where earthquakes are all too common. As the state Emergency Management Division reminds us,“Washington is earthquake country. It’s not a question of ‘if’ but ’when’ an earthquake will strike us.” Continue reading

Helping After Two Hurricanes in the Virgin Islands  

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By Gordon Williams

Photos by Amelia Iraheta

Amelia Iraheta of Seattle finds conditions harsh on St. Thomas, where she is part of the American Red Cross relief operation in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Wrecked homes and flooded streets are everywhere; there still are power lines down and there is a curfew to keep cars off the roads at night. Continue reading

How the Red Cross tends to Spiritual and Physical Needs

 

3By Gordon Williams

Pictures by Tim Serban

Most disaster victims need more than just a meal and a safe place to sleep, says Portland, OR based Red Cross service area leader Tim Serban. They also need emotional and spiritual support to help them get through an ordeal that threatens to tear their lives apart. “They already know what happened,” says Serban. “Now they want to know why it happened and why such a terrible thing happened to them.” Continue reading

Feeding Storm Victims in a Small Texas Town

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By Gordon Williams

Pictures by Norman Bottenberg

Some Red Cross volunteers, now aiding hurricane victims in Texas or Florida, can date their first deployment to Superstorm Sandy in 2012. For others the first deployment was to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. For Norm Bottenberg, of Sammamish WA, the first deployment was the eruption of Mount St. Helen on May 18, 1980–more than 37 years ago. Continue reading

Coping With Disasters in Our Own Backyard

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By Gordon Williams

It wasn’t a disaster on the scale of hurricanes Harvey or Irma, but for residents of the Carriage House apartments in SeaTac, WA, the fire that tore through the building on a recent Friday night was a disaster just the same. As with Harvey and Irma, it brought out the Red Cross to help the victims. Continue reading