Hawaii Red Cross volunteers to help with mudslide relief

A Civil Air Patrol plane flies over the massive mudslide near Arlington, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Two Hawaii Red Cross mental health volunteers from Honolulu are deploying to Snohomish County in Washington to help with the Red Cross response to this weekend’s devastating mudslide in Oso.

Elizabeth Norcross is scheduled to leave Monday night and Ron Matayoshi is scheduled to leave on Wednesday.

The American Red Cross says volunteers are being deployed to help provide crisis counseling, support and comfort to those impacted as they deal with this tragedy and wait for information about their loved ones.

“Our job up there is to provide basic services — services such as food, shelter, companionship, support,” Matayoshi said. “Emotions are running really high, questions are not being answered and I think we’re there to just provide a support mechanism, a good ear to listen and calm things down and find solutions to very small problems, but very important problems.”

Fourteen people are confirmed dead and as many as 176 people may be missing after a wall of mud, rocks and debris devastated the rural community Saturday, which is about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

Authorities believe the mudslide was caused by recent heavy rains that made the terrain unstable.

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