Idaho helps Houston

Posted at 9:46 PM, Apr 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 00:33:03-04
A Red Cross spokesmen calls the flooding in Houston a 500-year flood. More than 2,000 homes have taken on water and more than a thousand people have had to be rescued. The images bringing back memories of Hurricane Katrina. Red Cross officials say it's not that far off from reaching a disaster of that magnitude. 
"The incident in Houston is what we call level five. Just to give you some perspective on what that looks like, Katrina was a level six. So we are just shy of something that's really, really massive," explained Chris Davis of the American Red Cross.
Red Cross volunteers have set up more than a dozen shelters and have provided aid to those affected by the flood waters. Idaho Falls resident Johnnie-Sue Elliot is just one the volunteers. She arrived in Houston on Wednesday and has seen the devastation first hand. 
"This area has been hit really hard. This has been a major storm on top of other major storms and these people down here are struggling," said Johnnie-Sue Elliot over the phone.  
It's not the first disaster she's worked on, but this time, it's personal. She says that her nephew and his wife live in the Houston area and have property damage.
"I haven't even spoken to them yet," Elliot explained. "I just saw what they posted on Facebook and they had several inches of water in their home.'
With more rain expected, more Idaho Red Cross volunteers may soon be on their way. Others have been asked if they can take 11 days off for their deployment and  been put on stand-by. Sending those volunteers isn't cheap, but a spokesmen for the Red Cross say that it's a job that needs to be done.  
"It costs about $1,650 on average to send a volunteer to deploy to a disaster such as this," explained Davis.
To donate to the Red Cross, click here.