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American Red Cross Relief Operations Underway Across the Country


While American Red Cross relief operations continue in Joplin, other areas of the country are being affected by severe weather, and the Red Cross is responding. Since March 31 the Red Cross has launched 32 relief operations in 23 states to help people affected by tornadoes, floods and wildfires.

Be Prepared for Widespread Flooding

Flooding is currently occurring in South Dakota, Vermont, Nebraska, Montana, New York, Tennessee and Mississippi. Thursday night, the Red Cross provided shelter for more than 500 people forced from their homes because of rising flood waters. Severe weather is expected to continue through Memorial Day weekend, and the Red Cross urges residents to get prepared for flooding by following these simple tips:

  • Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
  • Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.

Ongoing Relief in Joplin

As flooding threatens communities across the country, the Red Cross is still on the ground in Joplin, Missouri providing meals, safe shelter, relief supplies and emotional support for people affected by the May 22 tornado. The Red Cross is also working hard with our government partners to help reconnect families through the Red Cross Safe and Well site.

The Red Cross Safe and Well site enables people within a disaster area to let their friends and loved ones outside of the affected region know of their well-being. By visiting redcross.org, a person affected by disaster may post messages indicating that they are safe and well at a shelter, hotel, or at home, and that they will contact their friends and family as soon as possible. Additionally, people who are concerned about family members in an affected area may also access the Safe and Well website to view these messages.

To date, more than 1,000 successful connections have been made through Safe and Well for the Joplin tornadoes. “We are pleased that the Safe and Well site has been instrumental in helping people find their friends, family and colleagues,” said Katherine Galifianakis who manages the Safe and Well site for the Red Cross. “Each successful match can bring comfort to loved ones desperate for information. The Red Cross is proud to work closely with our government and community partners to help reconnect people when possible.”

How You Can Help

This spring has brought destruction to a large swath of the country. Since March 31, the American Red Cross has helped people affected by tornadoes, floods and wildfires by:

  • Serving more than 2.2 million meals and snacks;
  • Opening more than 230 shelters and providing 20,000 overnight stays;
  • Providing more than 48,000 mental health and health consultations;
  • Handing out more than 1.1 million relief items like toothbrushes and shampoo, tarps, coolers, rakes and other cleanup supplies; and
  • Deploying more than 9,600 trained disaster relief workers from all 50 states.

The Red Cross estimates that it will spend as much as $41 million responding to the disasters which have occurred since March 31. This figure doesn’t include the tornadoes and other disasters of the past few days, so the need for services continues to grow. Over the past two months, the Red Cross has raised more than $39 million for disaster response.

Those who want to help 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; you can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.