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Red Cross Helping After Mississippi Tornadoes

Hattiesburg Chapter Damage
The Red Cross is prepared for situations such as this.

The American Red Cross is providing assistance to those whose communities were ravaged by last weekend’s tornadoes in Mississippi.

About 170 trained Red Cross disaster workers are working out of a temporary location after a tornado destroyed the Red Cross office in downtown Hattiesburg, providing shelter, meals, health services, relief items and emotional support. The Red Cross is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and local emergency managers to identify what people need most to assist them on their road to recovery.

"The Red Cross is focused on meeting people’s emergency needs and continues to move volunteers, equipment and supplies into affected communities,” said Charles Blake, director of relief operations, American Red Cross. “We’re also continuing to monitor the weather patterns and rising water levels and are prepared to open additional shelters if needed.”

Several service delivery sites are open throughout the area where residents may receive health services, emotional support and disaster relief items. Emergency response vehicles are distributing relief items and meals in the affected neighborhoods, and the Red Cross is partnering with the Southern Baptist Convention and the Salvation Army for mobile and shelter feeding, serving meals and distributing relief items.

If someone needs to find a shelter, they can download the free Red Cross Hurricane app for mobile devices, visit, or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Those affected can let loved ones know they are safe by registering on the secure Red Cross Safe and Well website.

SAFETY INFORMATION As people begin to clean up their properties clean-up, Red Cross has several safety steps that should be followed:

  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe to do so. Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings – do NOT use candles.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
  • Keep all of your animals under your direct control.
  • Flooding is a possibility is several Mississippi counties. People should continue listening to weather reports for the latest updates on flood warnings and watches. Follow these Red Cross flood safety tips.

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon water above your ankles or a flooded road, turn around and go another way.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood danger.
  • Keep away from loose or downed power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Stay out of any building that has water around it. Keep children out of the water.
  • Tags: Tornado.
    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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.