The American Red Cross has launched a large relief operation across 11 states to help people affected by Friday’s devastating tornado outbreak in the South and Midwest. Weather experts reported as many as 95 confirmed tornadoes touched down, destroying communities from the Great Lakes to the Southeast.
“Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this week’s severe storms,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Disaster Services. “Our top priorities right now are making sure people have a safe place to stay, a warm meal and a shoulder to lean on as they begin to clean up their neighborhoods. The Red Cross is also working closely with our government and community partners to make sure everyone gets the help they need.”[ Also Read: PepsiCo’s $500,000 for Tornado Relief Efforts ]
Friday night, the Red Cross opened or supported 22 shelters in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Across the affected states, trained Red Cross disaster workers are mobilizing to begin feeding operations and distribution of relief supplies. Red Cross health services and mental health workers also will be out in neighborhoods to help people cope with what they’ve seen and experienced.[ Also Read: 8 Tips on How to Talk to Kids about Disasters ]
And damage assessment teams will also help the Red Cross and its partners discover the full scope of the damage.
If someone would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes and floods, they can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org.
Follow safety steps. As people begin to deal with the aftermath of the tornadoes, the Red Cross reminds people they should return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so. They should also:
- Stay out of damaged buildings and immediately report any fallen power lines or broken gas lines to the utility companies.
- Use flashlights, not candles when examining buildings. If someone smells gas or hears a hissing noise, they should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department.
More tornado safety information is available on the Preparedness Section of the Red Cross website.
Photo courtesy: American Red Cross