American Red Cross Responds to Historic Southern Floods

People can send a $10 donation to help those affected by disasters across the country by texting ‘REDCROSS’ to 90999

Photo by: Beth Ferguson on Sunday May 2nd at the Smyrna Towne Center Red Cross Shelter in Smyrna, TN

WASHINGTON, Monday, May 3, 2010

—The American Red Cross has opened more than two dozen shelters in response to a powerful weather system that generated tornadoes and caused severe flooding across the South.

As of Monday morning, the Red Cross and its partners had 28 shelters open across the South, including Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee. Tennessee was particularly hard hit, with some areas in the state receiving as much as a foot of rain, leading to numerous road closures and forcing evacuations. Nearly 1,000 Tennesseans stayed at a shelter on Sunday night.

“We’re just at the beginning of this relief operation, and until the water begins to recede we won’t know just how much damage has occurred,” said Joe Becker, senior vice president of disaster services at the Red Cross. “Right now we’re focused on providing meals and a safe place to stay, but the Red Cross will be there for the long haul to help people get back on their feet.” 

The Red Cross activated a mobile giving text donation effort today to enable interested people to make a $10 text donation to help people affected by disasters like the recent floods and tornadoes.     

Customers of participating wireless carriers can text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Donations will appear on customers’ monthly bills or be debited from a prepaid account balance. Message and data rates may apply. Depending on the carrier, individuals can donate two or three times per month. The Red Cross is working with mGive to process and facilitate the mobile donations.

Floods are typically long-term relief operations, given that waters can take days to recede and can wreak devastating damage on homes.

As heavy rains continue across the South, the Red Cross encourages people in the affected area to register themselves and their loved ones on the Safe and Well Web site, to allow family and friends around the country to know of their status:

  • Visit redcross.org, and click on the Safe and Well link.
  • If you are currently being affected by this disaster, click: “List Myself as Safe and Well,” enter your pre-disaster address and phone number, and select any of the standard message options.
  • If you are concerned about a loved one, click “Search” and enter the person’s name and pre-disaster phone number OR address. If they have registered, you will be able to view the messages that they posted.
  • If you don’t have internet access, you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register yourself and your family. Follow the prompts for disaster information.

To find the location of open shelters, please visit redcross.org and click on the “Find a Shelter” link.

Time is of the essence in any disaster, and the Red Cross is able to respond immediately to the needs of individuals and families impacted by disaster anywhere in the United States, regardless of cost, thanks to donations by members of the Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP).

Members of the Annual Disaster Giving Fund are Altria Group, American Express, AXA Foundation, ConAgra Foods, FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, General Motors Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Merck, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, Ryder Charitable Foundation, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target, The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare and UPS.

Help people affected by disasters like the recent floods and tornadoes in the South, by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting redcross.org.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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