The Wind River Indian Reservation has seen disaster numerous times with past flooding, and this year will be no exception. When the Red Cross responds to flooded homes it’s not just another house, but community members who have immediate needs.
“It’s a great feeling when you can come alongside and offer assistance. It’s an even better feeling when we have can join forces with partners to prepare a community in advance; to try and prevent loss of life and property,” said Kaleigh Good, Disaster Program Manager for Red Cross of Wyoming.
Red Cross is proud to have been invited by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes into a partnership for pre-flood mitigation. The partnership extends well beyond this pre-flood mitigation, as Red Cross frequently collaborates with Northern Arapaho Emergency Manager Harvey Spoonhunter and Eastern Shoshone Emergency Manager Vernon Hill. Together, Red Cross, Team Rubicon Region VIII, and Tribal Emergency Management officials are advocates for emergency preparedness and positioning the community for a stronger, more resilient place to call home.
On day one of the mitigation project, Team Rubicon Region VIII Members gathered around for a morning briefing. “We are here to help protect life and property today; to hopefully keep some families from having to worry about the flooding that may occur,” said the Team Leader. Team Rubicon Volunteers were thankful to the Red Cross for providing the support that allowed them to be part of the efforts and will spend the next few days filling sandbags in efforts to prepare the community in advance of the snow melt.
Many members of the community began stacking sandbags several weeks ago as they prepared for severe flooding; the current snow water equivalent is more than 300% the normal range in the Wind River Basin.
“This is my first mitigation. It’s hard to come in and see the aftermath so this is nice to be here to hopefully help prevent some of that loss, ” said Ashley Crandall, Team Rubicon volunteer who came in from Texas to help support the community. Many of the volunteers from Team Rubicon have traveled a great distance to be here helping this community, whose families see and experience some level of flooding every year. Take, for example, Crawford, who has lived on the Wind River Reservation his entire life. He and his family, which consists of more than 100 brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles are all part of this tight knit community on the reservation. “We are a lot more prepared now than we were in 2010,” he said as he shared with us his experience of past flooding in the community and what they are doing to prepare for what they know is on the way. “It’s great to see all the people who are coming together to help each other and to help their neighbors get ahead of it this year,” he said.
“We thought it was done snowing…but then we got more. That means more water in the rivers when it starts to melt and it all flows right down here,” Crawford said.
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. The Red Cross provides several tools such as a free Emergency App which can be set to alert you to potential threats like flash flooding. You can learn more by clicking HERE, or from your mobile phone, Text GETEMERGENCY to 90999.
Learn more about flood safety and preparedness, as well as what to do before, during, and after a flood event, or how YOU can help those who are affected by flooding this year at redcross.org.
Photos By: Red Cross Volunteer, Nigel F. Holderby
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.