Red Cross Stands Ready as More Severe Weather Unfolds
WASHINGTON, April 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross is coming to the aid of people across the South as powerful tornadoes continue to tear through the region, destroying homes, closing highways, causing power outages and forcing people to evacuate from their neighborhoods.
Red Cross workers are on the scene in several states, providing a safe place to stay for people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the severe storms. Disaster assessment teams will fan out across the affected counties today to identify the scope of the damage.
The storm system has produced at least ten tornadoes, damaging winds and hail from Texas north to Kansas and east across areas of Arkansas. A tornado ripped through the town of Tushka, Oklahoma, destroying a school and dozens of homes, with extensive property damage reported.
"Damage is widespread here," reported Michael Spencer, Red Cross spokesperson, who is on the scene in northwest Arkansas near the Oklahoma border. He said people are missing and local officials are conducting search and rescue efforts. He described seeing a car that went through a mobile home, trees through homes. "We'll be out today helping people and determining the extent of the damage in this area."
"Red Cross volunteers are right behind the storms, rushing aid to disaster victims," Spencer said. "Deadly tornadoes hit this same area a few months ago. It's very important people take precautions ahead of these storms and be ready to go to their safe spot."
Weather officials say conditions are favorable for more severe weather today in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. Tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, large hail and dangerous lightning are expected, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Red Cross will monitor the situation and respond if needed.
This latest Red Cross assistance comes on the heels of responding to disasters earlier this week in Iowa and Virginia after tornadoes devastated communities in those states. Red Cross workers also helped people affected by wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma.
The American Red Cross has been on the scene of more than 25 large disasters across 20 states since March 28. Red Cross assistance helps people affected by larger emergencies such as tornadoes and wildfires, or a family whose home is destroyed by fire. The Red Cross also continues to help the people of Japan and support the residents of Haiti. If you would like to help, you can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS, or text REDCROSS to 90999. You can also mail your contribution to your local chapter 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.