The American Red Cross is operating shelters, serving meals and distributing disaster relief supplies in Texas after several powerful tornadoes hit the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area yesterday, destroying or damaging hundreds of homes and leaving thousands without power.
About 150 people came to Red Cross shelters throughout the day Tuesday for help after the tornadoes struck. The Red Cross also provided 1,400 blankets for stranded travelers at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport where hundreds of flights were canceled and many aircraft were damaged by hail.
Red Cross disaster workers are teaming up with the Southern Baptist Convention and Salvation Army to see people get the help they need. Nine emergency response vehicles will be out in the affected areas today, distributing meals and disaster relief supplies. Red Cross teams will also be out assessing tornado damage to determine the level of help people will need in the days to come.
“Yesterday we had the uncertainty of not knowing what Mother Nature was doing on the other side of someone’s shelter,” said Red Cross spokesperson Anita Foster. “Today reality is setting in and our mental health workers will help people recover from the devastation.”
SAFETY STEPS The Red Cross reminds those affected that they should not return to their neighborhoods until authorities say it is safe to do so. Other safety steps include:
April is historically a busy month for tornadoes in the United States. People can visit the preparedness section of the Red Cross website for more information about what to do if a tornado threatens.
HOW TO HELP People can help those affected by disasters like the tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Contributions enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.
There has not been increased need for blood products for the tornado victims in Texas. However, the Red Cross wants to remind individuals that it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps during emergencies. Every day 44,000 blood donations are needed to help trauma victims, surgical patients, burn victims, patients with blood disorders and many others. When disasters strike, this need may be even greater.
Potential blood donors must be 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and be in generally good health. People should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when they come to donate. Eligible donors can give whole blood every 56 days.
To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood or platelets, people can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).