Hondo fire
Disaster Updates

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Disaster Operations Headquarters
New Mexico, 5/96, Wildfire DR 059
Taos, NM 87571

Contact: Elizabeth Quirk - Albq.
(505) 265-8514
Carol Miller - Taos
(202) 365 -7480

For Immediate Release
May 9, 1996

Red Cross Continues Relief to Fire Victims

Taos, NM
More than 130 American Red Cross volunteers have worked around the clock assisting individuals, families, and emergency workers since the Hondo fire began on Sunday, May 5.

Red Cross volunteers have come from communities in northern, central, and southern New Mexico, and from out of state to provide help in Lama, Red River, Angel Fire, Questa, and Taos.

As of Wednesday evening, Red Cross volunteers had served more than 4,300 meals to fire victims, firefighters and emergency workers. Mobile feeding has been providing supplemental snacks and drinks for firefighters and emergency workers at their base camp. At the Questa Middle School, cafeteria personnel have prepared meals which are served by Red Cross three times a day. Red Cross mobile feeding operations have supported three other shelters in Questa and Angel Fire.

Red Cross damage assessment teams have been conducting extensive surveys throughout the affected areas. Preliminary reports (figures are subject to change) indicate 40 homes affected, with more than 30 destroyed.

The Red Cross has also coordinated the distribution of goods generously donated by the community. Smiths Grocery Store in Taos donated a full truck of bottled water which the Red Cross will distribute in Lama.

The Red Cross will be represented at a Community Meeting for Lama at the Red River Fish Hatchery at 7:00 PM this evening. Media may contact Carol Miller at the above number or at the meeting.

Disaster Operations Headquarters
New Mexico, 5/96, Wildfire DR 059
Taos, NM 87571

Contact: Elizabeth Quirk
Public Affairs Officer
(505) 265-8514

For Immediate Release
May 9, 1996

Red Cross Opens Mobile Service Center
To Meet Emergency Needs of Fire Victims

Since the Hondo wildfire began on May 5, the primary focus of the American Red Cross relief effort has been in providing emergency sheltering, feeding, and first aid services. The Red Cross joined with other voluntary agencies, churches, businesses, and the community as a whole in an overwhelming community response to the disaster.

The Red Cross is now moving from the Emergency Response Phase into the Emergency Assistance Phase of the operation. With a mobile service center, Red Cross will continue directly helping individuals and families with disaster-caused needs by providing assistance which may best enable them to resume normal family living.

Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVS) serve many purposes, not only in serving meals, but they are also easily converted into a full scale office. Two ERVs will be centered in the community of Lama, where many homes have been lost or damaged, and in Questa. One ERV will be used for feeding, the other as a service center.

A Red Cross Service Center is not just an application center. It is where the Red Cross provides direct assistance with emergency needs. Family service workers will meet one-on-one with fire victims to disucss their specific disaster-related needs and develop their individual recovery plan. The interview process gives disaster victims the opportunity to tell Red Cross what their immediate needs are, ask any questions they might have, and to express any feelings they may be experiencing. Red Cross nurses and crisis counselors will be available to assist with health related needs.

Disaster Victims will be asked to provide some form of identification, such as a drivers license, or utility bill, that show they reside/resided in the affected area. On a case-by-case basis, fire victims with verified needs may be issued disbursing orders (vouchers) to purchase the emergency items they need themost, such as: lodging, new clothing, groceries, medical needs, basic household furnishings and supplies, minor home repairs and occupational supplies. Vouchers may be taken to a local merchant of the fire victims choice. By using the voucher system, the Red Cross injects thousands of dollars into the local economy which is often affected by the disaster.

The Red Cross is also using Outreach Teams which are already out in the field. Realizing that some families may not have transportation or communication, the Red Cross does not wait for families to come to a service center, rather, Red Cross workers reach out to them. Using damage assessment street sheets, Red Cross canvasses each affected home on every street to see if the family has emergency needs. Should the family require assistance, vouchers can be written on the spot.

The Red Cross will also be coordinating with other voluntary agencies which may have resources for fire victims.

The Red Cross is not a government agency and receives no federal funding. Red Cross disaster assistance is made possible through the voluntary contributions of individuals and corporations.

With the emergency response phase over and sufficient goods generously donated, the most pressing need for Red Cross is monetary contributions as we help people get back on their feet.

You can help your neighbors and families affected by the New Mexico Wilfire and other disasters by calling 1-800-HELP NOW or by sending a contribution to:

American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund
P.O. Box 4624 NDCBU
Taos, NM 87571

Or to your local Red Cross Chapter

All Red Cross Disaster Services Are Free...
A Gift Of The American People