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Southern Relief Efforts Continue as Midwestern Rivers Rise

The American Red Cross continues its 24/7 relief efforts in the tornado-ravaged South and is closely watching rising rivers in the Midwest following more storms there.

Nearly 1,000 people spent Sunday night in one of the 61 Red Cross shelters open throughout the South; this includes more than 400 people in Alabama, one of the most severely hit states by last week’s deadly tornadoes.

In Alabama, Red Cross emergency response vehicles are traveling through neighborhoods to provide families hot meals and a comforting word. The Red Cross is also distributing thousands of comfort kits, and is working with Save the Children to distribute infant and children’s supplies.

Relief efforts also continue in Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, where the Red Cross has been providing food and cleanup supplies to affected residents.

On Sunday, American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern joined several government officials in Alabama and Mississippi to survey the damage and the ongoing relief efforts.

At a press conference in Smithville, Miss., McGovern addressed the community, saying, “On behalf of every single member of the Red Cross family, our hearts go out to you. You’re in our thoughts and our prayers, and we want to do whatever we possibly can to ease your suffering and make this easier for you.”

After commenting on the incredible destruction she’s witnessed, McGovern thanked everyone who has donated, saying, “We are so grateful to the American public. They have really stepped up in a phenomenal way...and we are grateful for every single donation.”

An anonymous, but heartfelt note posted on the University of Alabama Alumni Board spoke to how much those donations are needed and appreciated.

“Just a note from badly mangled Ringgold, Georgia. I wanted to let you all know that any contributions made to the American Red Cross are reaching those desperate for assistance. All day as we worked to get our homes in the dry the ARC came by countless times to offer food and water and even candy for some badly traumatized children. I saw the grateful tears in the eyes of those usually too proud to take a handout and even wiped away a few of my own. I just wanted to let everyone know that the service they perform is so appreciated and that any donation you make goes right to the people hurting and in need.”

Possible Floods In Store As the recovery process continues in the South, attention now turns toward possible flooding in several states, including Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky.

If you are in an area threatened by flooding, follow these tips:

  • Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way.
  • If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters like wildfires, floods and tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, 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, and people 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.