An udate.

We have been posted to Washington, IL for full-time tornado recovery efforts. We will be at the donation center located at Countryside Banquet facility (659 School St.). We are asking that those who want to sign up to help go through the Washington Chamber of Commerce. Thanks!

Devastation.

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November 17, 2013 has become a day that will not be easily forgotten by those who live in Central Illinois.  Around 10:30 to 11 a tornado ripped through multiple areas in the areas surrounding Peoria.  Washington getting the brunt of the storms which reached nearly 200 MPH winds while there were touchdowns in Pekin, East Peoria, Marquette Heights, and Roanoke.  Devastation is widespread.  There was luckily ONLY one fatality in Washington, but six throughout Illinois.  Governor Pat Quinn has been going throughout Illinois assessing damage and visiting with the communities effected the greatest, seeing what the needs are and trying to lift spirits as best as he can.  Volunteers are still being asked to stay out of the area, especially Washington, until they can determine what needs to be done and who can be of the most help.  Stay tuned to news and radio reports, FEMA reports, and reports from American Red Cross, as they are the sources you should be listening to.

What can I do to help?

As of right now, Red Cross is asking to go online and make monetary donations, selecting that the funds be sent directly to the tornado relief.  Although there will be needs in the next few days to weeks, once everything has been assessed the shelters will know exactly what they need.  Right now, the area has been flooded with donations of all kinds, which is wonderful, although there is no areas to store anything yet.  Again, stay tuned to see when they will be accepting donations and what they need.

What is AmeriCorps doing?

Today, our members gathered together at the Agency and put together everything we had including sleeping bags, blankets, hats, gloves, scarves, and hygiene items.  We haven’t sent them anywhere as we are still waiting to hear where there is a need.  We have also not been mobilized.  We are ready and we are on call for when we are needed but until all of the damage has been assessed, we will not be sent anywhere.  There are other AmeriCorps groups that are coming from Missouri and other states to help and once they have arrived, our AmeriCorps team will help them in whatever ways we can, be it lodging, transportation, or guidance as they are not familiar with the area.  We will later be put in charge of volunteer groups at emergency child care places that have been opened, or at shelters, or food pantries, or with animals.  Wherever we are needed we will be.

How can I stay updated and in the loop?

This website has everything that you need to know.  Who is involved, who needs what, where you can help, what you can donate, etc, etc.
Also feel free to contact us here at AmeriCorps: Fostering Transitions.
Coordinator Julie S: jsiebert@chail.org
Team Member Coach Natalie S: nsalawage@chail.org
AmeriCorps members: americorps@chail.org
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A quick note.

PeoriaCorps members and volunteers have signed up to help the American Red Cross Central Illinois disaster relief efforts. We’ll be in and around Peoria and the surrounding areas helping with emergency supplies, shelters, food, cleanup, transport, and anything else the Red Cross volunteers need.

american red cross

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Downtown Peoria Riverfront

Downtown Peoria Riverfront

Although the temperatures will be reaching 83 today, which is just hot enough to make me happy, there is rain the forecast.  I hate to tell ya, but it’s the truth.  Even though we haven’t had rain for a few days, the water has only receeded a small amount.  Roads are still closed, houses are still evacuated, and people still need help.  Today, the AmeriCorps team will be going through a Red Cross training to help with disaster relief.  Hope packages will be distributed soon to families who may be back in their homes but still need assistance due to water damage.  If you would like to help volunteer, you can contact the local Red Cross chapter at 677-7272 or email AmeriCorps at Americorps@chail.org

Illinois River Flooding: Our View

Flood e

View from the museum.

Flood c

Becca’s picturesque view of the flooded train tracks.

Flood b

Another image from Becca, of the river’s height last weekend.

Flood a

The pretty reflection and the clear skies almost hide the fact that this historic flood has already caused major damage.

Flood 2

Volunteers and workers wait behind the sandbag-enforced barriers…

Flood 4

The riverbank…formerly known as Water Street.

Flood d

Alisha does a little wading to get a shot of a submerged road sign.

Flood 3

The picture Alisha took.

Flood 1

Preparations, in the form of thousands of sand bags.

Flood f

A closeup of the sandbags, the city’s best defense against the rising waters.

Pictures taken by Alisha, Becca, and Natalie

Flooding in the Midwest

Flooding in Peoria

Flooding in Peoria

List of flood-related road closings.

Find an emergency shelter.

Resources:

Anyone who needs Red Cross shelter assistance and those interested in volunteering on this relief effort should call their local chapter office at the number below.

Tips for dealing with floods:

When a Flood is Imminent

  • Be prepared! Pack a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Don’t forget to include needed medications.
  • If advised to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
  • If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If possible, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances.

During a Flood

  • Do not walk through moving water. As little as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of moving water can make you fall.
  • If you have to walk in water, wherever possible, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

After a Flood

  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency

Stay safe, everyone!