Red Cross Providing Help, Comfort to People in the South

Red Cross Providing Help

Isaac Relief Efforts Could Cost Tens of Millions

Contact: Public Affairs Desk

Telephone: (202) 303-5551

FOR MEDIA ONLY

WASHINGTON, Friday, August 31, 2012 — As Isaac’s floodwaters recede and people begin to return to their neighborhoods, the American Red Cross is moving into community after community along the Gulf Coast, ramping up mobile feeding efforts and handing out relief supplies, while continuing to shelter those who still need a safe place to stay.

Mobile kitchens capable of making thousands of meals a day are setting up in the affected areas. Volunteers from the Southern Baptist Convention will be preparing meals to be distributed throughout communities by Red Cross emergency response vehicles in place all along the Gulf Coast. The Red Cross has already served more than 42,000 meals and snacks.

More than 3,000 Red Cross disaster workers are handing out meals, snacks and water, they will also be distributing things like cleaning and personal hygiene items, coolers, shovels, rakes, tarps, gloves and masks as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We’re estimating that this massive relief operation for Isaac could cost as much as tens of millions of dollars, and our costs are growing by the hour,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services. “We haven’t raised anywhere near the millions of dollars we will need to pay for our efforts. The public has always come through when Americans needed help and we are counting on them now.”

HOW TO HELP To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

SHELTERS OPEN Meanwhile, people are still out of their homes and more evacuations may take place. Last night more than 4,200 people stayed in 60 Red Cross or community shelters across six states. Three-quarters of last night’s shelter residents were in Louisiana; Mississippi had the next highest shelter population with just under a quarter of the total shelter population. If people need to find a shelter, they can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check local media outlets.

IF THE POWER IS OUT, people should use flashlights, not candles and check food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out. Generators, grills, camp stoves and similar devices should not be used inside. If using a generator, folks should connect the devices they want to power to the generator and not connect the generator to the home’s power supply.

HOT WEEKEND Temperatures are expected to be high this weekend with the heat index above 100 and the power still out in many areas. It’s important that people stay hydrated and safe in these hot conditions. Many people are beginning to clean up their properties. They should use the buddy system when working in excessive heat and take frequent breaks if working outdoors. People should eat small meals and wear loose-fitting, light clothing. They should also check on family, friends and neighbors, and make sure their animals are not suffering from the heat.

CLEAN-UP SAFELY As people begin to return home and clean up their property, they should beware of snakes, insects and other animals that may be in or around the home. They should throw out all food, beverages and medicine exposed to flood waters and mud, as well as items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected. Hard surfaces should be cleaned with soap and hot water and all drywall and insulation exposed to flood waters removed. Waterlogged items will be heavier and people should be careful when moving them.

BLOOD DONATIONS NEEDED Isaac has already forced the cancellation of blood drives along the Gulf Coast. Depending on the storm’s path, additional blood collections may be cancelled, causing a shortfall of blood in the affected areas. All eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by Isaac are encouraged to call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit us online at redcrossblood.org today to schedule an appointment to give blood.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.