Contact: Jay Lawrence
Atlanta, April 17, 2020 — The Georgia Red Cross is preparing for the chance of more severe weather this weekend and an even larger statewide response after last weekend’s major tornado outbreak, which is just entering the recovery phase.
With some 160 state residents left homeless still in commercial lodging, they and others from many parts of Georgia are starting to get individualized help from Red Cross caseworkers to take steps to rebuild their lives. Many other activities are also underway.
“With a big effort already happening, we’re turning one eye to planning for an even bigger one if we get hit again,” disaster response director Bob Sheldon said. “We don’t want that – but you can rest assured that we’ll be ready regardless.”
Last weekend’s storms resulted in eight deaths, hitting northwest Georgia hardest. But 22 tornadoes struck all over, from Wayne County near Savannah to Upson County north of Macon to Stephens County in the northeast, according to the National Weather Service.
“If your home was affected by last weekend’s storms and still need a safe place to stay, or other Red Cross assistance, call us at 1-800-REDCROSS,” Sheldon said.
As they already help more than 700 families affected, Red Cross team members are following all COVID 19 health guidelines, including wearing masks, social distancing and doing as much as possible by phone and computer.
At the same time, a statewide team of volunteer caseworkers will be on the phone to help families find resources to move forward. Disaster mental health, health services and spiritual care volunteers will offer help and hope, sometimes by phone video.
A week later, more severe weather possible in southwest Georgia; some top tips
The National Weather Service is forecasting the chance of tornados, damaging winds and heavy rain from Sunday into Monday morning in south and central Georgia – exactly a week after the last storms hit.
Just as the Red Cross is preparing to ramp up its current disaster response, spring is a good time to follow these tips before a tornado strikes.
- Identify a safe place in your home where household members and pets will gather during a tornado: a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
- In a mobile home, choose a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. If your mobile home park has a designated shelter, make it your safe place. No mobile home, however it is configured, is safe in a tornado.
- Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
How you can help
The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. You can help people affected by disasters like storms and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
(Please note: While we understand people want to help, during the pandemic the Red Cross is not accepting unsolicited donations of material goods due to the health risks of handling and sanitizing them.)