Oregonians help with relief efforts in So. Cal mudslides

At least five American Red Cross volunteers from Oregon are currently helping cleanup and recovery efforts in the Montecito area. While the majority of these volunteers are from Portland, the non-profit organization does anticipate sending more from other areas of the state.

Fires in California, followed up by torrential rains have led to mudslides, now slowing entire cities to a stop and claiming lives. Cascade Regional Communications Director Monique Dugaw said volunteers with Red Cross are doing everything they can.

“We want to prevent and relieve that human suffering, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in California,” Dugaw said. “These people living in this area have first been dealing with wildfires that have… have been devastating their community, and now mudslides are further devastation.”

There are five volunteers from the Portland area helping with recovery efforts. Dugaw expects more will join this week.

“We do anticipate in the coming days that more individuals will deploy down to California,” Dugaw said. “It doesn’t appear that those mudslides are letting up anytime soon.”

It’s the latest in what seems like a barrage of natural disasters hammering the U.S.

“In a span of about 50 days, the Red Cross sheltered more people than we have in the past five years,” Dugaw said.

Despite that, Dugaw said the volunteers are ready to help.

“We are working and connecting with people who have lost everything, to begin to facilitate the recovery and get them some assistance to get them on that road to recovery,” Dugaw said.

If you can’t volunteer, but would still like to help, the Red Cross accepts donations on their website. You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 through your phone plan.

Natalie Weber anchors Your Place @ 7, and reports for NBC5 News at 5 and 6. She is also the spokesperson for S.O. Close to Homeless, a community discussion on homelessness in our region, started by Access and NBC5 News.

Natalie began her career in journalism as an intern with NBC5 News during her senior year at South Medford High School. Following graduation, she was promoted to Producer for the morning news broadcast for NBC’s sister station, FOX26, then to Producer for NBC5 News at Sunrise.

Natalie took a break from news to work for the Medford Police Department as a Records Specialist. However, she missed the fast-paced environment of the newsroom. Natalie moved back to her hometown of Eureka, California to start her on-air career with North Coast News KAEF ABC23 before returning once again to NBC5 News.

Natalie attended Southern Oregon University. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, getting lost in a good book, and exploring Southern Oregon.

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