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Whidbey agencies help with Oso mudslide aid

Members of the Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Search and Rescue unit are assisting with rescue and recovery efforts in Snohomish County following Saturday’s mudslide.

As of Tuesday, the death toll was 14, with over 100 still unaccounted for, according to the Associated Press.

Nine volunteers with the Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross have been deployed so far, according to Ron Conlin, Island Chapter’s disaster supervisor.

The volunteers work as shelter workers in a 12-hour shift rotation. It remains unclear how many people have been displaced, according to Nancy Waddell, Co-Team Leader of the South Whidbey Disaster Action Team. However, she said one night over the weekend the Arlington shelter housed 24 people overnight. Several other shelters have been opened in the area, Waddell said. Registered nurses from the Islands Chapter were also onsite providing health since the crisis.

In addition, NAS Whidbey Island’s Search and Rescue unit was contacted by the Regional Operations Center Snowpack Operator for assistance, according to Public Affairs Officer Mike Welding.

The unit helped evacuate several individuals after arriving on scene, and two crew members provided on-the-ground evacuation efforts. They returned to base to transport three federal firefighters and their rescue equipment to the scene, and one victim was transported to Skagit Valley Hospital.

The unit returned to NAS Whidbey Island late Saturday but is on standby to provide additional assistance if requested, Welding said.

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