Volunteers from the American Red Cross of Northwest Louisiana headed east this morning to assist storm victims in Monroe and West Monroe. That area was hardest-hit by yesterday's strong storm system that moved through the state.

Local Red Cross Chapter Director Michelle Davison tells 710 KEEL there are a lot of communities that are severely affected.

"With any tornado, it's sort of hit and miss," she said. "But the areas that got affected really did get hit hard."

Davison said nine volunteers from the Shreveport-Bossier area are in Monroe right now, and she doesn't know how long they'll be there. She said it could be as short a time as a week-and-a-half to two weeks, but it could be even longer.

"There's a lot of trees down, a lot of power outages," she said. "I think that's one of the biggest things we're facing right now here. Even the Red Cross Office in Monroe doesn't have power and phones, so we're having to do work-arounds to make sure we can still get service out without actually having the luxury of electricity."

She said there are two shelters set up in the area, one in Monroe and one in West Monroe. Red Cross volunteers are assisting with storm damage assessments, and handing out supplies to residents who need them. And utility workers are trying to get power restored as quickly as possible. Davison said traffic lights that weren't working as she was headed into town are back on now.

For Shreveport-Bossier residents who want to help out, Davison said there are two ways you can do that.

"If they're interested in volunteering, we are always looking for volunteers, especially those who are willing to go to Monroe right now," she said. "But we even need help at the office answering phones."

Financial support is also needed, and Davison said any donation is appreciated. You can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or the local office at (318) 865-9545 for more information.


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