Oklahoma City, Wednesday, June 19, 2013 — A month after the deadly tornadoes hit Oklahoma, trained Red Cross caseworkers and other disaster volunteers continue to help and comfort Oklahomans with food, relief supplies, health services and emotional support.
“Our focus right now is on meeting the immediate needs of people in these communities and making sure they have the resources they need,” said Janienne Bella, CEO of the Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma. “People still in need of assistance can contact the Red Cross at 405-228-9500.
Thanks to the generosity of people across the country, the Red Cross has received approximately $26.5 million in donations and pledges for its response to the Oklahoma tornadoes.
The Red Cross has already spent or committed more than $6 million for its emergency response and initial assistance to families in Oklahoma, and estimates that this will grow to $7 million to $9 million. This has included deploying more than 1,800 workers from all over the country, serving nearly 460,000 meals and snacks, distributing nearly 400,000 relief items and providing more than 20,000 health services and mental health contacts. Red Cross and community shelters have provided more than 6,300 shelter stays.
Red Cross also plans to allocate another $3-5 million to provide assistance for families who, working with caseworkers, will receive help with unmet emergency needs and recovery planning. This could include assistance with transportation needs, home repairs, security deposits for new housing, storage of belongings and other needs. In the month since the first tornado, the Red Cross has opened more than 4,600 cases and provided services to over 5,000 families through the Multi-Agency Centers.
Working together with local, state and federal partners, the Red Cross is drawing up additional plans on how it will spend the money. While needs may change, the Red Cross at present is prepared to support funding in five areas:
“People across the country have been extremely generous in supporting the work of the Red Cross to help people affected by these storms,” Bella said. “Thanks to these donations, the Red Cross has provided food, relief supplies, shelter and comfort since the tornados struck and will continue to help families put their lives back together. These donations will be used to assist families with a variety of needs as they recover and prepare communities for future disasters, including helping homeowners, schools and communities construct storm shelters that can save lives.”
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more 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. To learn more go online to www.redcross.org/okc.