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Local Volunteer Deploys to Arkansas to Provide Disaster Relief

San Jose, CA (May 2, 2014) The American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter deployed their first local volunteer to Arkansas to provide support and comfort to those affected by the tornado and Spring storms. Judith Boore of Los Altos deployed this morning to provide disaster mental health relief to affected families and responders.

Red Cross workers continue to care for people after an EF-4 tornado with winds approaching 200 mph traveled through Pulaski, Faulkner and White Counties in central Arkansas. Care is also being provided to residents in Clay, Greene, Craighead and Randolph Counties in eastern Arkansas. More than 150 workers are providing mobile feeding, health and emotional support. In addition, 24 emergency vehicles are fanning out through the hardest hit areas including Vilonia in Faulkner County that was hit three years ago by a powerful tornado. Volunteers are handing out relief supplies such as clean up kits with buckets, mops and brooms; work gloves, rakes, shovels, coolers, insect repellent, and tarps.

As of May 1st, the Red Cross is providing comfort and hope across 12 states to help people affected by devastating floods and tornadoes. Trained workers are providing shelter, food, relief supplies, health services, emotional support and other assistance in the affected areas and more workers, supplies, and equipment are being mobilized as needed. This has been a deadly and devastating storm and Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath. About 280 people spent Wednesday night in 25 Red Cross and community shelters in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. People who need to find a shelter can contact their local Red Cross chapter or access the Red Cross shelter map on redcross.org. This map is updated every 30 minutes with shelter locations by address, city, state and/or zip code. Nearly 50 Red Cross emergency vehicles are handing out meals, snacks, and relief supplies in the hardest hit communities as road conditions permit. More than 800 Red Cross workers have served nearly 30,000 meals and snacks and handed out 4,600 essential relief items to people in need.

The Red Cross tornado app has sent more than 5.5 million storm alerts since Sunday to 800,000 people each day when severe weather threatened. The app can be downloaded directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores by searching for American Red Cross.

The storm is still a threat to many. Heavy rain and flooding are possible from the southeast all along the East Coast to New England, and people should be prepared to evacuate if ordered. We encourage people in the affected areas to download the Red Cross flood app for mobile devices. One-touch “I’m safe” messaging allows users to let family and friends know that they are out of harm’s way. The app gives simple instructions on what to do even if cell towers and television reception are down and lets people locate open shelters. Users can also receive NOAA flood and flash flood watches and warnings.

This is one of the largest disasters the Red Cross has experienced recently and additional support is needed now.

HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

About the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter

The American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter is a non-profit, humanitarian organization that depends on the generous contributions of time and money from Santa Clara County residents and companies to provide services and programs that help our community to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. For more information on disaster preparedness, health and safety classes, volunteer opportunities, and financial contributions, visit our website at redcross.org/siliconvalley or call us at 1-877-727-6771. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.