More than 1,200 homes throughout northcentral Pennsylvania were affected by flooding set off by Tropical Storm Lee, and Northcentral Pennsylvania Red Cross officials said support from volunteers and community leaders has made its efforts to evaluate damage and care for flood victims a success.
The organization held a news conference Tuesday to announce home assessment statistics.
Red Cross spokesman Phil Petter said 190 homes throughout the region were destroyed by flooding; 150 homes incurred major damage; 360 homes suffered minor damage; 586 homes were affected in some way, such as basement flooding; and 25 homes could not be reached.
Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff Wheeling, right, shows the areas hardest hit by Tropical Storm Lee to Commissioner Ernie Larson, left, and Al Smith, volunteer disaster coordinator for the American Red Cross.
Home assessments were performed by volunteers, led by Al Smith, volunteer disaster coordinator for the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross also took charge of providing food and shelter for victims in the aftermath of the flooding.
"Well over 20,000 meals have been delivered," Red Cross Executive Director Kathy Stine said, adding that the organization housed more than 400 individuals in shelters in the first few days.
BY THE NUMBERS:
190 homes destroyed
150 homes with major damage
360 homes with minor damage
586 homes affected in some way
About 400 people housed in shelters in first few days
20,000 meals delivered
About 200 volunteers
$170,000 in donations - and growing
1,200 homes hit by flood
Petter and Stine said the Red Cross's efforts would not have been possible without its volunteers.
"We survive on volunteers," Petter said.
"We've used over 200 volunteers every day ... the same volunteers," Stine said. "Those people have been really dedicated to helping the effort here."
The Red Cross received two $50,000 donations from local businesses Tuesday - one from Pa. General Energy Co. and one from EXCO Resources.
"We saw the damage and destruction that occurred and the losses that people suffered," Adam Pope, of EXCO, said. "We just wanted to help in any way we could."
Petter noted that the Red Cross also received flood relief donations from Muncy Bank and Trust, for $35,000, and First Community Foundation, for $23,000.
"We've also accumulated about $13,000 from individual donations," he said.
Petter encouraged community members to participate in a challenge issued by the Plankenhorn Foundation, which has offered to donate $25,000 if the Red Cross can match the funds with local donations. Donations should be made out to the Northcentral PA Red Cross with "local flood relief" on the memo line.
Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff Wheeland said donations are more important than ever since flooding caused the Red Cross to cancel its biggest fundraiser, the Susquehanna 500 Mini Indy race.
"That's why these checks are such a godsend," Wheeland said. "Everything's going out, but nothing's coming in."
Petter said the support the Red Cross has received in its flood relief efforts show the true colors of the local community.
"It's a community that cares," he said. "We may fight like cats and dogs, but when there's a problem we all pitch in."