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Red Cross Provides Food, Shelter to Thousands Hit by Northeast Floods

Thousands of people stayed in Red Cross shelters Friday night as floods in the Northeast continued to keep families from their homes. The vast majority were in Pennsylvania and New York, where remnants of Tropical Storm Lee flooded roads, damaged and destroyed homes, caused power outages and prompted the evacuation of nearly 100,000 residents earlier in the week.

On Friday night, approximately 1,200 residents stayed in nine Red Cross shelters in New York, and nearly 1,500 were in 35 Red Cross shelters in Pennsylvania. Shelters will be available as residents wait for waters to recede along the Susquehanna River.

In addition to opening shelters, the Red Cross is giving residents food, water and other critical relief supplies, and is ready to distribute cleanup supplies in affected neighborhoods as soon as the water recedes enough to do so.

Dozens of Red Cross mobile feeding vehicles have been mobilized for Pennsylvania and New York, as well as thousands of additional cots and blankets and cleanup supplies such as shovels, rakes, buckets and coolers. In addition, 80,000 ready-to-eat meals have been shipped to the two states, and the Red Cross is working with the National Association of Baptist Men to set up a kitchen that can serve 20,000 meals per day.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross remains hard at work in North Carolina, New Jersey and parts of New England, where Hurricane Irene destroyed thousands of homes at the end of August. The Red Cross is still providing food and shelter for hundreds of people affected by that storm and communities experiencing additional flooding.

Disaster relief also continues in Texas, where wildfires have burned nearly 1,400 homes so far. Nearly 300 people spent the night in six Red Cross shelters in Texas on Friday evening. The Red Cross is also providing food and water to people forced from their homes, as well as for emergency responders who are fighting the fires.

In less than a two-week period, the Red Cross has initiated multiple relief operations because of Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and the Texas wildfires. To date, the Red Cross has:

  • Served more than 1.9 million meals and snacks
  • Distributed more than 217,000 relief items, including cleanup supplies
  • Deployed more than 8,000 Red Cross workers to affected areas
  • Provided more than 28,000 mental health and health services consultations

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 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.

Preparedness Fast Facts Get the facts you need — before, during, and after a disaster or emergency situation. The American Red Cross developed the following emergency-specific checklists using the latest research, science, best practices and expert opinion.