Feeding, sheltering efforts underway in multiple states
WASHINGTON, April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Severe spring weather continues to affect thousands of people across the country and the American Red Cross is responding on several fronts to help the communities directly affected by tornadoes, wildfires or flooding.
"While many people enjoyed a spring weekend, Red Cross volunteers were opening shelters and providing comfort to those devastated by the storms," said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. "In Kansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, North Dakota and Minnesota, the Red Cross stepped up to help those whose lives were disrupted by severe spring weather."
Tornadoes devastated neighborhoods in Iowa and Virginia. In Iowa, Governor Terry Brandstad declared a state of emergency after a large tornado swept through the town of Mapleton, leaving behind widespread destruction and power outages. The Siouxland Area Chapter provided shelter for people in the area and deployed a Red Cross emergency response vehicle to provide food for those affected, as well as items to assist in the clean-up efforts.
In Pulaski County, Virginia tornadoes ripped through the area, destroying almost 57 homes and causing major damage to almost 170 more. The Greater New River Valley and Roanoke Valley Chapters opened a shelter for those who had to leave their homes, and provided food, toiletry articles and clean-up kits for those in need.
In Texas and Oklahoma, wildfires burned thousands of acres, prompting the evacuation of residents living nearby. Red Cross chapters provided shelter for hundreds of people affected by the wildfire and provided food and drink for first responders.
In North Dakota and Minnesota, people living along the Red River watched as the river rose to 38 feet, which is nearly 20 feet above flood level. Highways are flooded and schools closed in the area because students can't access the buildings. The Red Cross has been working with local officials and community partners since the flood response began, providing mass care feeding and mental health services to those in need.
The American Red Cross responds to as many as 200 disasters a day in the United States and has been on the scene of 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.