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American Red Cross to Complete Disaster Relief Operation in American Samoa by Wednesday, March 21

Red Cross Elects Board Members

Media Contact:

Emily Cox, Regional Communications Director

Cell: (858) 205-0148

emily.cox@redcross.org

As the recovery process moves out of the initial emergency stage, the American Red Cross will complete available casework and transition back to steady state operations

PAGO PAGO, AMERICAN SAMOA – March 14, 2018 – The American Red Cross has provided assistance to American Samoa residents since before Tropical Cyclone Gita made landfall on February 9. Caseworkers have already opened more than 1,200 cases for affected families. Appointment-based casework is planned to continue through the afternoon of Wednesday, March 21, at the VA Hall in Tafuna to serve remaining families whose homes are categorized as “destroyed” or receiving “major” damage.

Over the past five weeks, the Red Cross provided 15,337 meals to residents in shelters and hosted 13 points of distribution (PODs) throughout American Samoa to distribute supplies including nearly 600 “Jumpstart to Recovery” kits, more than 1,200 clean-up kits, and more than 2,300 comfort kits. Several thousand emergency supplies including mosquito nets, tarps, flashlights, and more were also distributed to families affected by the storm.

More than 220 Red Cross workers have been involved in the American Samoa disaster relief operation, including staff and volunteers deployed from across the United States, local American Samoa residents, and Red Cross disaster workers supporting the operation remotely.

Help people affected by disasters big and small, like floods, landslides and countless other crises, by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

In addition to the disaster relief operation, the American Red Cross has provided training to several new volunteers and initiated the Sound the Alarm program in American Samoa. Working with the local fire authorities, the Red Cross identified the areas with the highest risk for home fires and installed more than 600 free smoke alarms in 234 homes. Red Cross volunteers also helped residents create emergency escape plans with family members. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. Every household should create a fire escape plan and practice it until everyone can escape in less than two minutes. Escape plans should include at least two ways to escape from every room. Select a meeting spot at a safe distance where family members can meet. Discuss the plan with everyone in the household and practice it at least twice a year.

The free Red Cross Emergency App puts safety tips at your fingertips. The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

About the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties

The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties is the most trusted community service organization in education, preparation and response to natural disasters and human emergencies. With the public’s ongoing support, we provide lifesaving preparedness training; disaster relief services; services to deployed military personnel and their families, and nutritional counseling through our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Through Prepare San Diego, a regional resiliency initiative, the Red Cross brings together key community and business leaders from the region to create a sustainable network that encourages preparedness, carries out response and recovery plans, and strives for resiliency in the face of disaster, meeting all aspects of the disaster lifecycle. 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/sandiego or connect with us on Facebook and YouTube and Twitter.