Even though hundreds of homes — and hundreds of people — were impacted by Friday’s tornado in eastern Iowa, the Red Cross has already closed its two emergency shelters in Muscatine and Louisa counties, as they weren’t being used. Leslie Anthony, spokeswoman for the Quad Cities Red Cross chapter, says it’s not a surprise, as people in the small towns are helping each other and offering affected friends and neighbors places to stay.
Anthony says: "Fruitland was definitely the worst hit but there was also severe damage in Grandview and Muscatine as well. We have three emergency response vehicles that are still on the ground, doing mobile feeding and distribution of supplies…tarps, clean-up kits, work gloves." The Red Cross served more than 36-hundred meals through those emergency response vehicles just Saturday and Sunday.
The state says some 240 homes were damaged in the three communities, with 39 homes destroyed and 28 sustaining major damage. Anthony says outreach teams are scouring all three communities, talking with people who had damage to their property.
Anthony says:"They’re going door-to-door and interviewing the victims and finding out what their needs are and giving them financial assistance. The outreach teams also have mental health case workers with them. We realized yesterday that, it’s two days after the disaster. It’s really starting to get emotionally and physically very stressful for the victims." She says the Red Cross is able to provide immediate help to some residents in the form of plastic cash.
Anthony says the Red Cross client assistance cards come pre-loaded with an amount based on family size and emergency needs. The cards can be used like a debit card to buy clothes, food and any other immediate necessities. She says a family of four could be eligible for up to $12,000 in emergency assistance. Iowans who’d like to offer financial help as well can call their nearest Red Cross office or 800-Help-Now.