As severe weather continued to cause flooding throughout the Midwest, the Utah chapter of the American Red Cross hoped for a deluge of support this week.
Officials hit the phones Wednesday morning, calling trained volunteers to provide assistance in Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin.
"We will go anywhere they want to send us," said Jo-Lynn Hatch, 55, Taylorsville, the first to volunteer her services Wednesday. "A disaster is just as important in whatever state it's in. I don't care where I'm needed, I'll go."
Hatch became a Red Cross volunteer after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005 and has served in a number of capacities with the organization.
She was packing her bags Wednesday afternoon and expected to be in Indiana by this morning. There she will work 12-hour days for the next two to three weeks in areas hit hardest by the storms.
In Elnora, Ind., about 100 miles southwest of Indianapolis, berms of white sandbags and concrete barriers held back the White River. Most residents left after voluntary evacuation orders came late Monday, two days after the area got up to 10 inches of rain.
Downriver from Elnora, a levee failed early Wednesday near the town of Capehart, and Daviess County authorities urged residents to evacuate.
But in Salt Lake City, where officials hoped volunteers would come rushing in, they trickled. By 5 p.m., only about five volunteers had committed to go, said spokeswoman Susan Thomas.
"They're starting to trickle in, and that's good," she said. "These things usually take a few days."Trained volunteers interested in helping can contact the Red Cross at 801-323-7000. First-time volunteers won't be sent to the Midwest,but can contact the organization to begin their training for future efforts, Thomas said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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