POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - As the cleanup process continues after this year's flood damaged many homes in Randolph County, the American Red Cross wants victims to understand the severity of proper cleanup.
According to Stan Rosenzweig with the American Red Cross, several local churches helping flood victims have reached out to them with concerns.
"Many of the churches we work with in town have said people are coming in asking for supplies such as sheetrock, but the majority of that population is not taking the issue of black mold seriously," said Rosenzweig.
Because black mold poses such a health risk, Rosenzweig said they are real concerned.
"This can be deadly," said Rosenzweig. "It can cause respiratory problems, kidney problems, internal organ problems, skin problems. We are just all concerned where you don't have to avoid saving your home if you cannot afford it."
Rosenzweig said he knows many victims are afraid of the expenses that come with repairing their home, which is why he wants them to know there are many organizations willing to help them for free.
"These organizations will provide mold killing substances, help replace sub flooring, sheetrock, insulation," said Rosenzweig. "It is really important that you look into this because two or three years from now, people are going to get sick if they don't take care of the problem."
Some cases Rosenzweig said that have come to light is that people are trying to rebuild their homes on top of the damage.
"We've heard people are just painting over it," said Rosenzweig. "They are barely cleaning the small spot of mold that they see on the wall when in reality, beyond that wall, that black mold can spread to a large portion."
Rosenzweig mentioned tearing out places where black mold is seen is not a good thing to do either.
"Mold comes in spores so avoid ripping it out if possible," said Rosenzweig. "When you do that, it gets in the air and then spread to other places quickly. You need to get a mold killing substance, spray it down and wait until that mold is killed off."
Rosenzweig said one of the best things you can do is come to the shelter in Pocahontas and let one of their volunteers point you in the right direction to receive the best help that will save your home and protect your family's health.
"We just want people to be safe," said Rosenzweig. "I'd go home back to Salt Lake City very happy if everybody who hears this will come in and find out where they can go and how we can help them get their homes back together."
Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.