Historic flooding in Missouri and Arkansas claimed more than 10 lives between April 28 and May 5, according to CNN. For those who survived, however, the worst is still ahead: Even as the water recedes next week, thousands of people will be searching for food, shelter and next steps as they face the prospect of returning to their waterlogged homes.
This is where Thomas Oliver's work begins.
The Union City, Ohio resident and his wife will travel to St. Louis Friday night to provide emergency relief on behalf of the American Red Cross.
The work they do will depend on the need that meets them: They might bring food to displaced people, set up shelter or assess damage done to hundreds of homes. Given the scale of the flooding, any one of these options is likely to become a long, involved task.
The Red Cross is ready for it.
"We don't just go, show up and leave them," said Patricia Smitten, regional CEO for the Greater Cincinnati chapter of the Red Cross. "We make sure they have the resources or we connect them with resources they need in their communities."
Smitson said she expects to send more local volunteers to the St. Louis area as the scale of the flood damage -- and the need it left behind -- becomes more clear.
"They need all the help they can get," Oliver said.