STORY: Illinois Flooding

Illinois Flooding ResponseRita has lived in Barstow since she was 15 years old. She has seen the river flood before, but she has never seen anything like this. the entire neighborhood was flooded. On Saturday, April 20th, as she came home from an errand, unaware of the evacuation notice issued 24 hours earlier while she was at work. She asked the firefighters on her street what was happening. She was told that the levee had just broke; she had 30 minutes to get out and most likely would never be coming back.

Rita panicked, thinking of the children at her house and knowing that she needed help. She immediately when to her 12 year old son and told him to grab everything that he could in 5 minutes, then to take the two little ones outside to the porch and distract them from what was really happening inside. “I couldn’t believe what was happening. I tried to get everything that we would need, but it was impossible.”

Rita is living with her family in a friend’s mobile home right now. “I’ve had good spirits considering all that has happened, but we need help.”

The Red Cross provided Rita with a clean up kit and talked to her about options for housing and other assistance. Caseworker, Karen Nelson, “Sometimes people need to be able to tell their stories and we are there to listen.”

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