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Utahns join Red Cross relief effort to assist Louisiana flood victims

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Posted at 9:33 PM, Aug 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 08:20:59-04

MURRAY, Utah -- At least 11 people are dead and 40,000 homes damaged or destroyed due to flooding in Louisiana, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Red Cross volunteers from all 50 states are being deployed to help. About 25 Utahns are part of the 1,500 volunteers across the country sent to offer relief.

“We are Americans, this is what we do, we go and help each other,” said Michael Smauldon, one Utah Red Cross volunteers.

Like many, Smauldon watched on TV as the flood waters overtook thousands of homes across Louisiana.

“Seeing that happening I couldn’t imagine what I would do if that happened to me,” Smauldon said.

Smauldon has volunteered with Red Cross operations before, but only in Utah. Most recently he assist in the Tooele fire that ripped through 18 homes last month.

However, he’s seen nothing like this.

"If I was in their shoes I would want somebody to come out and help me,” Smauldon said. “I'm going out there because one, it's the right thing to do, and two, this is what the Red Cross does, this is what we do.”

As many as 10,000 people have been displaced. The Red Cross has set up shelters in churches and schools and that’s where the bulk of Smauldon’s work will be done.

"I don't know what to expect but I do know what to expect at the same time,” Smauldon said. "Make them comfortable, give them somewhere to sleep, food to eat and a place to have their head covered."

Smauldon plans to spend at least two weeks, away from his own home and his own family volunteering, but he said he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“I’m going to miss my family but you know that’s OK, because there are families there that are apart and trying to find each other,” he said. “My home is here and it’s OK, their home is gone so my job and what I feel I need to do is go out and help them.”

If you are interested in helping the flood victims go to redcross.org.