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Red Cross Relief Efforts Ongoing In Alabama, Pacific Northwest

The American Red Cross is continuing its relief efforts in Alabama after devastating tornadoes ripped through the state earlier this week, while supporting people in the Pacific Northwest after snow and flooding forced people from their homes.

The Red Cross has shelters open in Alabama to offer those affected a safe place to stay, has served more than 5,700 hot meals and snacks and distributed more than 600 relief items. Red Cross disaster workers are circulating throughout the region, delivering hot meals prepared by Southern Baptist Convention volunteers who have opened a disaster kitchen in the area.

Ray and Lisa Powell had to leave their home after a tornado hit their neighborhood near Birmingham, Alabama. The couple is deaf and was unable to hear sounds normally associated with an approaching tornado. Instead, vibrations warned them that something was terribly wrong outside their home. Once the movement stopped, the Powells had to evacuate with their neighbors.

Thanks to an emergency preparedness program supporting their special needs, husband and wife were directed to the Red Cross. When asked about their experience, they said they were thankful to be alive and for being able to stay in the Red Cross shelter until they plan their next steps.

Meanwhile, Red Cross disaster teams are out in the Austin, Texas area assessing damage after strong storms and a tornado moved through communities there. The storm damaged homes, knocked out power and flooded streets, forcing emergency workers to rescue drivers stranded by high water. Red Cross chapters continue to support and provide relief to in areas such as Oregon and Washington as well as in other states where multi-family fires have forced many from their homes.

Many homes in the storm-beleaguered areas of the country are without power. The Red Cross reminds people that if they are using a generator, they should connect the equipment they want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. A portable generator should not be connected to a home’s electrical system. More steps people can follow to stay safe during a power outage are available on the Red Cross web site.

Ray and Lisa Powell are staying in a Red Cross shelter near Birmingham, Alabama. The couple is deaf and were lucky to survive because they couldn’t hear the sounds of the approaching tornado. An interpreter is helping them communicate during their stay at the shelter. (Red Cross photo by Tamica Smith-Jeuitt). Red Cross emergency vehicles are ready to take hot meals cooked by Southern Baptist Convention volunteers to people affected by this week’s tornadoes in Alabama. The Red Cross partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention is one of many that make it possible for the Red Cross to carry out disaster relief efforts. (Red Cross photo by Dave Schrader).

If someone would like to help people affected by disasters like the tornadoes in the South and flooding in the Pacific Northwest, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, they can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Their 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. Contributions may also be sent to their local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.