Baton Rouge Red Cross responds to residents in Rayne, LA

News

POSTED: Sunday, March 6, 2011 - 11:15pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - 6:25pm

(STORMTRACKER33) - Around 10 am Saturday, March 5 an EF2 tornado with winds in excess of 110 mph killed one person, injured 11 others, and damaged at least 142 homes. 

Residents in Rayne are turning to the American Red Cross for shelter, food and emergency assistance that is critical to beginning their recovery.

“The Red Cross gave me a place to stay, food, these clothes and medicine that I needed,” said Pauline Patton, who lived in an apartment in the affected area and is staying in the Red Cross shelter at the Knights of Columbus Hall. “They’ve been a great help.”

Patton said she was very frightened as the storm passed overhead and called on family members for help. They were out of town. As rain fell on her bed and in the kitchen and winds whirred around their home, she said she called the police department, which helped her evacuate.

As Patton and her neighbors are able to return to the area, they will be met by Red Cross disaster workers, who will be delivering meals and snacks, as well as clean-up supplies (gloves, rakes, garbage bags).

While some trained disaster workers assess damage to better meet the needs of those affected, others are comforting residents reeling from the sudden loss of their belongings and the disruption of their lives.

Some will receive referrals for counseling to mental health professionals that help them find the strength to deal with the difficult emotions brought on by such destruction. The Red Cross also has helped facilitate replacement medications for those in need.

Initial external disaster assessment by Red Cross volunteers shows 142 homes destroyed or with major or minor damage. That figure is sure to change as families return home.

Because local volunteers are involved in on-the-ground response, the Baton Rouge chapter is handling donations.

If you are interested in learning how you can help or in making a donation please visit batonrouge.redcross.org. The chapter can be reached at (225) 291-4533.