Flooding

Flash Flooding, Storms Hit Central United States

Flooding continues in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Flooding inundated Clarksville, Missouri, in May, 2019, and rising floodwaters have continued to impact Missouri and a handful of other states in the weeks since. Direct Relief is working to support health care facilities in these communities as they treat patients. (Photo by Missouri Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Christy Van Drunen)
Flooding inundated Clarksville, Missouri, in May, 2019, and rising floodwaters have continued to impact Missouri and a handful of other states in the weeks since. Direct Relief is working to support health care facilities in these communities as they treat patients. (Photo by Missouri Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Christy Van Drunen)

A series of interconnected storms caused flash flooding in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma this week, forcing evacuations and killing one person in Oklahoma.

First responders swung into action on Sunday, rescuing people whose vehicles were caught in the water or who were stranded by the flooding, according to the Missouri Department of Public Safety. Some communities were evacuated, although it’s not clear how many people were affected.

The storms downed trees and utility poles and damaged at least one building. While the flooding created an immediate need for evacuations and rescues, officials cautioned that high winds were also a threat to public safety.

Tornadoes, flash floods, rising rivers, and record-breaking rains have pounded the central and southeastern United States this spring, affecting communities as far apart as Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida. A number of deaths have been reported, as has extensive damage.

In addition, the ongoing storms could have a massive impact on local economies, interfering with planting season and significantly disrupting agricultural production.

The end isn’t yet in sight. The National Weather Service predicts rain throughout the central and eastern United States this week, causing ongoing flooding in several states.

Direct Relief staff pack cold shipments of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines bound for health centers in flood-impacted Missouri. (Talya Meyers/Direct Relief)

In response to the ongoing storms, Direct Relief has reached out to 53 partner health facilities in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee to offer support. A refrigerated shipment of Tdap – a vaccine that prevents tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis – left the warehouse on Monday, bound for Access Family Care, which serves patients in southwest Missouri.

The Tdap vaccine is frequently employed during floods, to prevent wounds from becoming infected by contaminated water or other unsanitary materials.

Another further shipment, including hygiene kits and protective gear, is expected to leave Direct Relief’s warehouse today.

The organization will continue to monitor the situation and provide aid as needed.

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