WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross is providing relief and support across the country to help people suffering after floods in the Midwest, explosions in Texas and Boston and a wildfire in California.
"The Red Cross has responses in place from New England to the West Coast and from the upper Midwest to the heart of Texas," reported Trevor Riggen, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. "While the disasters range from floods and fires to explosions, what doesn't change is that Red Cross workers are helping with food, shelter, supplies and emotional support."
MIDWESTERN FLOODING The largest response is in the Midwest where people spent Sunday night in Red Cross shelters across several states as flood dangers continue. Hundreds of Red Cross workers are providing food, relief supplies and emotional support to those affected in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. Officials are concerned about heavy rains and flooding occurring to the north, especially in Minnesota and the Dakotas. In North Dakota, residents of the Fargo area are preparing for a potentially record-setting high crest along the Red River and its tributaries, putting sandbags in place to try to stop the flood waters. There are additional workers and supplies on standby if needed as flooding continues over the next few weeks.
EXPLOSIONS IN TEXAS AND BOSTON Red Cross disaster workers continue to assist those affected by the tragic explosions in West, Texas and Boston. In West, the Red Cross is opening emergency aid stations to provide food, water, emotional support, health services and relief supplies as people are allowed to return home. Red Cross workers are also supporting a joint assistance center to help provide recovery resources to those affected.
A week after the bombings in Boston, the Red Cross is supporting a family assistance center with local officials. About 200 Red Cross workers have served more than 17,000 meals and snacks, handed out hundreds of relief items and provided as many as 1,800 mental health and health services to those in need.
Red Cross Blood Services provided a total of approximately 800 blood products to hospitals to help the injured after the explosions – 550 in Massachusetts and nearly 250 in Texas.
CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE About 200 households were evacuated for a wildfire Sunday in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains near the city of Monrovia. The Red Cross opened a shelter and provided water and snacks to first responders and those forced to leave their homes.
HOW TO HELP If someone would like to help people affected by disasters like these, they can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief at www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. There is enough blood available now to help patients in Texas and Boston. Those who are eligible to give blood are strongly encouraged to schedule a donation time in the days and weeks ahead. To schedule a blood donation, people can call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org. Those who want to make a donation to directly support the Boston Marathon bombing victims can visit www.onefundboston.org.
STEPS TO HELP COPE The Red Cross has information people can use to cope in the aftermath of these tragedies. For free counseling or support which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, people can contact the SAMSHA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746.
Getting oneself and one's loved ones more prepared for disasters can bring peace of mind. Taking an action like downloading the Red Cross first aid app, taking a first aid class or building a disaster supply kit can help someone feel empowered to face future emergencies.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
SOURCE American Red Cross