WASHINGTON, April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tornadoes, flooding and wildfires continue to wreak havoc across a large part of the United States, with hundreds of people seeking refuge in American Red Cross shelters.
"This relentless weather is uprooting people from their homes and we are there with them, making sure they have a safe place to stay and food to eat," said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. "Our disaster teams are working tirelessly across a large part of the country to help people affected by these storms."
More than 370 people spent Monday night in Red Cross shelters across the Midwest where driving rain and swollen rivers are threatening towns along the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys. In Arkansas, the Red Cross opened shelters after severe storms caused flooding, forcing people to evacuate from their neighborhoods. The Red Cross deployed disaster teams in Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois where heavy rain threatened river levees and prompted the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
In Texas, wildfires have scorched more than a million acres and in addition, tornadoes touched down Monday in nine counties. More than 460 residents spent the night in Red Cross shelters. Disaster teams are assessing damages in the affected areas and providing assistance to the firefighters and those impacted by the fires and tornadoes.
The Red Cross is responding to disasters across more than half of the country as the severe and deadly weather continues. In the past two weeks, the Red Cross has opened nearly 50 shelters and provided more than 3,000 overnight stays. In addition, with community partners, the Red Cross has served more than 233,000 meals and snacks and distributed more than 20,000 items like clean-up supplies and comfort kits to people affected by the severe spring weather. Red Cross mental health and health services workers have provided thousands of consultations to people coping with the aftermath of these disasters.
All Red Cross disaster assistance is provided free of charge to those in need. The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters like wildfires and tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
SOURCE American Red Cross