Red Cross lists resources available after low turnout at RGV flood shelters

A week after the Rio Grande Valley’s heavy rainfall and flooding, the American Red Cross of South Texas is tending to the aftermath and sharing tips on disaster prevention.

Red Cross representatives said some of the more dense rainfall affected the cities of Mission, Edinburg and Los Fresnos — with 70 homes being reviewed for damage assessments.

The organization opened two shelters in Pharr and Mercedes during last week’s flooding, and according to Executive Director David Luna, they were surprised by the low number of turnout given the amount of rainfall.

“We gotta figure out why people are not coming out,” Luna said, reminding the public that these shelters are available during times of emergency.

While some residents experienced severe damages to their homes, many experienced roof leaks or wet floors — issues that do not meet the organization’s criteria to receive aid.

Residents must experience 18 inches of rainfall in their home or if in a mobile home, water must be up to the floor to qualify, according to Luna.

To be prepared for the next emergency, the Red Cross encourages residents to always have a survival kit handy with the following items:

  • Water: 1 gallon per person, per day (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home)
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • Deluxe family first aid kit
  • Medications (seven-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed or lease to your home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cellphone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Maps of the area

Mike Taylor, an American Red Cross chair member, said the organization can always use more volunteers and encourages people to apply on the website at

“This is in the Valley, from the Valley and for the Valley,” Taylor said. “And it all hinges on volunteers and donations.”

The Red Cross can be reached 24/7 on its (866) 526-8300 hotline.