Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Red Cross Gearing up for Mississippi River Flooding

The American Red Cross is ramping up to help people along the Mississippi River, where forecasters are predicting potentially catastrophic flooding may occur starting later this week. The Red Cross is sending trained volunteers and supplies to the areas of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana threatened by the record flooding. Shelters are opening in some parts of those states.

Tom Elliott, an American Red Cross Disaster Volunteer from Dallas, Texas, was sent to Mississippi last week to help with the deadly tornado outbreak. Little did he know that a week later, his team would not only be responding to that disaster, but that they would be gearing up for one that could be even worse.

“We’re preparing for Vicksburg, MS to crest on the 21st,” said Elliott. “We’re planning to open four large shelters on the western side of the state and two large kitchens. We’re not even wrapped up with the first disaster and now the people of Mississippi have to face a second.”

Across the south, deadly tornadoes destroyed or damaged as many as 13,000 homes in recent weeks. The Red Cross estimates the costs of its responses to the April tornadoes, Texas wildfires, flooding and other disasters since March 31 could reach $31 million—with the response to the Mississippi River flooding expected to drive relief expenses even higher. As of Thursday, May 5, the Red Cross had raised about $16 million for disaster response since March 31.

Thousands of people have been affected by recent disasters. Please consider making a donation today by clicking on www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions can also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

The Red Cross has launched 20 separate relief operations over more than half of the United States since March 31. A total of 27 disaster relief experts from Dallas, Texas are currently on assignment in MS, AL, AR, or TN. More are expected to deploy in the days and weeks ahead.

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