Thursday, May 5, 2011

April Storms Leave Communities Damaged, Inundated

April now looks to be the busiest month on record for tornadoes, having left more than 13,000 homes destroyed or damaged across six states, according to preliminary estimates.

The American Red Cross has spent most of this spring responding to the violent weather that has hit so many communities in the U.S. Since March 31, the Red Cross has:
  • Served more than half a million meals and snacks with the help of community partners like the Salvation Army and Southern Baptist Convention; more than 165,000 have been served in Alabama.
  • Opened more than 130 shelters.
  • Provided more than 10,000 overnight stays, nearly half of which have been in Alabama.
  • Made nearly 10, 000 health and mental health consultations.
  • Distributed more than 253,000 relief items such as gloves, rakes, tarps and shovels.
In addition, nearly 4,500 Red Cross workers from all 50 states have assisted with relief and recovery efforts.

Due to the last few weeks’ tornadoes, flooding or in some states, a combination of the two, Red Cross shelters are currently open in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.

The Red Cross also has 153 emergency response vehicles traveling through seven states right now, providing hot meals and relief supplies to residents in need. Sixty-two of these vehicles are in Alabama, and an additional 17 are headed to the state.

In Pine Flat, Miss., a small community hit by an EF3 tornado last week, Red Cross workers stopped at the home of Charles and Marjorie Potts. The Potts’ home was damaged, and now his wallet is missing. Mr. Potts has numerous health issues, and since he has no way to pay for his medications right now, the Red Cross is helping to cover a portion of his prescription costs.

"The Red Cross has been a God's blessing,” Potts told Red Cross workers Carolyn Freeman and Rusty Surette. “Without your help I would likely be back in the hospital. I can't thank you enough," he said.

Meanwhile, the hits keep on coming for states just beginning their recovery from April’s storms. Heavy rain and swelling rivers are now creating flood concerns across Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana as the Mississippi River continues to rise. The Red Cross is on alert to help these communities when needed.

How You Can Help

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters like wildfires, floods and tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS; you can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

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