Hawaii Red Cross group aids in Washington mudslide search - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii Red Cross group aids in Washington mudslide search

Courtesy: MGN Online Courtesy: MGN Online
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Washington (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Four members of the Hawaii Red Cross are assisting first responders at the scene of last weekend's massive mudslide in Snohomish County, Washington, according to a Hawaii Red Cross spokesperson.

21 people have been pronounced dead as a result of the disaster, with nearly 30 still believed to be missing.

At least one volunteer is doing administrative-type work that includes aiding families in making funeral arrangements, with others doing social work described as "disaster mental health" for family and community members as well as first responders.

Ron Matayoshi, the husband of Red Cross Hawaii CEO Coralie Matayoshi, is among the Hawaii contingent. He says the Snohomish County Fire Department is the staging site for crews getting ready to go to the disaster site, which is about two miles away.

"It's not just a mudslide," says Matayoshi. "It's an avalanche, and that sets the kind of tone with what we're working on."

Matayoshi says rains in the area have subsided for the moment, which would typically make it easier for first responders to conduct their search, but fatigue for both human and canine crews is proving to be a major issue.

"Dogs are getting tired, people need to rest," Matayoshi says. "They plan on resting the dogs for a few days."

When asked to clarify if the Hawaii contingent was working primarily to take care of victims, community members or search parties, Matayoshi said that the community itself was doing an incredible job of assisting one another.

"This community is so tight that the community members are kind of taking care of themselves," Matayoshi said. "But someone needs to take care of them."

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