SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Whether it’s a wildfire, a hurricane or a typhoon volunteers with the American Red Cross are always among the first to respond.
“Being on the ground would be very difficult at times. You see a lot of carnage, a lot of suffering. It’s very rewarding, though knowing that you’re making a difference. Three weeks is a long time away from friends and family staying in conditions that are not always the best conditions,” said Robert Reuland, disaster program manager at the Eastern South Dakota Red Cross.
Reuland says resources like blood are crucial, especially for people in Maui.
“People can donate blood to the time of disaster. The blood supply does get depleted pretty quickly. So anyone that’s able to donate blood, that’d be greatly appreciated,” said Reuland.
“Obviously in these kinds of situations. Hawaii is not going to be doing any blood drives right now for a while in these affected areas. So their supply of blood would be depleted,” said Patty Brooks, executive director of the Eastern South Dakota Red Cross.
Brooks says in situations like these, it takes years for communities to heal.
“I do expect that once the recovery piece is done with the responders who are on the ground right now that the Red Cross will move into more of a disaster assessment, and we will help those who are affected by these wildfires rebuild their lives in many different ways. With their housing, financially, reunification with loved ones, mental health, we will be the boots on the ground probably for months to come,” said Brooks.
Click here for more information and donation links to the American Red Cross.