The American Red Cross stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the thousands of people affected by last week’s devastating tornadoes and is helping to provide for their immediate needs.
Last night, the organization opened 25 shelters, providing a safe haven for more than 250 people in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, where blizzard conditions forced people to seek refuge.
In addition, Red Cross emergency vehicles are distributing meals and relief supplies in affected communities, and assessment teams are helping to determine the full scope of the damage the tornadoes left behind.
The governors of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri and West Virginia have declared a state of emergency for the state or affected counties.
“The families that we’ve talked to today have expressed gratitude that they are alive, but they also recognize that a lot of their loved ones are not,” said disaster worker Anita Foster in West Liberty, Ky. “The Red Cross is doing what we can. We have deployed our disaster mental health workers - folks who can help with the crisis counseling. We have loaded trucks and supplies and pushed them into the neighborhoods just as quickly as possible.”
People have had their lives turned upside down and Red Cross mental health support is an important part of the relief effort.
“I’ve seen this on TV and could never imagine it for real,” said Martha Hall, whose home was destroyed in the tornado.
Adding to the difficult circumstances many face, snow is predicted for much of the affected areas today.
Those interested in helping those affected by disasters, such as tornadoes and floods, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org/oc, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 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 redcross.org or join our blog at . For more updates on the American Red Cross in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, follow us on Twitter.