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Red Cross Responds to Deadly Severe Weather Across Six States

Tornado Damage

Deadliest Start to Tornado Season in 9 Years; May is Peak Month for Tornadoes

WASHINGTON, Monday, May 1, 2017 — The American Red Cross is on the ground across six states, helping people affected by record severe storms, flooding and tornadoes which hit the southern Plains and Mississippi Valley regions. More than 230 people sought refuge from the storms Sunday night in 25 shelters across six states. There have been as many as 10 reported fatalities, although that figure is expected to rise.

“This month is historically the peak month for tornadoes, so it’s critical that people stay informed and get prepared,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Our first priority is providing shelter, so that those affected have a safe place to stay. As more severe weather is expected for this coming weekend, the Red Cross will go where we’re needed for as long as we’re needed. When conditions improve, we will then help people in their first steps on the path to recovery.”

In Missouri, some communities were forced to evacuate due to rising rivers, and more evacuations could occur today. Red Cross disaster workers have opened numerous shelters where more than 130 people spent Sunday night. Flooding also hit central and southern Illinois, so the Red Cross is also helping in that area.

The Red Cross also has shelters open in Arkansas, where the governor declared a state of emergency after residents in Sharp and Fulton counties were forced to leave their homes due to river flooding. In Oklahoma, Red Cross disaster workers opened shelters after the governor declared a state of emergency due to severe storms, flooding and snow affecting a large part of the state.

Tornadoes ripped apart parts of Texas, where as many as 5,000 buildings may be affected. And in Kansas, a major snowstorm dumped more than a foot of snow. The Red Cross has shelters open in both states.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross also responded to the shooting situation at an apartment complex in San Diego, California, providing housing and canteen services to almost 50 displaced individuals.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. Help people affected by disasters like floods, wildfires and countless other crises by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. These gifts enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Make a donation today by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.

CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.

ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; General Motors Foundation; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; Humble Bundle; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Wawa Foundation.

ADGP $500,000 members are: 3M; Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Bank of America; Boise Paper; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; McDonald’s Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; Reynolds American Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Sprint; Sunoco; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; and Wells Fargo.

Disaster Responder Program members are: Adobe; Alcoa; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; The Ball Foundation; BNY Mellon; CarMax; The Clorox Company; Cox Automotive; DTE Energy Foundation; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; Hi-Rez Studios; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; IHG Foundation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; New Balance Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; PuroClean Disaster Recovery; SC Johnson; ScriptRelief; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; T O Y O T A; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.

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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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