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Wichita-Area Volunteers Headed To Baton Rouge To Help With Flood Relief

Flooding can be seen on O'Neal Lane, looking north from I-12 in Baton Rouge, La.

Red Cross volunteers from the Wichita area are headed to Louisiana to help with flood relief efforts.

The American Red Cross office based in Wichita is sending at least five people to Baton Rouge to help with the recovery from recent floods. The volunteers will take an Emergency Response Vehicle to help with distributing food and disaster relief supplies.

Michelle Jantz, executive director of the Red Cross serving central and southeast Kansas, says the group could be working in Louisiana for at least two weeks.

"They tend to be given a route in an area that has been impacted, and they will be taking meals to people who have been affected and they are trying to clean up in their homes, and other relief workers that are out there," Jantz says.

The Red Cross says more than 10,000 people are staying in shelters in the Baton Rouge area.

Jantz expects there will be special efforts to raise money for flood victims because of the catastrophic and widespread nature of the disaster.

"It’s as large as Superstorm Sandy, and that is true even from a Red Cross response," Jantz says. "So it is near hurricane-level types of responding that we are doing now, so the need is great."

She says some of the local volunteers will be helping in the Red Cross warehouse where all the disaster relief supplies are kept, and with client casework to help flood victims get assistance.

About 20,000 people have been rescued from their homes following flooding that came from a slow-moving storm that dumped nearly two feet of rain last week. A state official says at least six people have died in the floods.

The Red Cross is sending at least 500 volunteers from across the country to those badly flooded areas in Louisiana.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.