American Red Cross Responds Across the Country to Wildfires, Floods and Tornadoes

Dozens of shelters open to support affected residents

WASHINGTON, September 6, 2011 — The American Red Cross provided food and shelter for more than 1,000 people around the country Monday night from multiple disasters, including residents impacted by wildfires in Texas and Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, which left severe weather in its wake over the Labor Day weekend.

In Texas, more than 450 residents spent Monday night in 10 Red Cross shelters as wildfires burned hundreds of homes and forced residents to evacuate. The Red Cross disaster response in Texas now joins multiple other Red Cross operations underway across the U.S. in response to floods, other wildfires and tornadoes.

Tornadoes spawned by remnants of Lee damaged homes and caused evacuations in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee on Monday, leading the Red Cross to open shelters in all three states. Red Cross shelters were also opened in Louisiana and Mississippi as Lee dumped torrential rain on the Gulf Coast. Heavy rains and extensive flooding are expected to continue as Lee’s remnants expand northeast into the Tennessee Valley and central Appalachian mountains through Tuesday.    

The Red Cross is also continuing to help people impacted by Hurricane Irene. To date, the Red Cross has served more than 1.6 million meals and snacks and provided approximately 58,000 overnight shelter stays since the storm made landfall on August 27. The Red Cross is also distributing supplies to help residents who are cleaning up homes damaged by Irene’s wind, rain and floods. So far, the Red Cross has given out more than 516,000 relief items such as hygiene kits, mops, brooms, tarps, work gloves and coolers.

“Right now our focus is making sure people forced from their homes by floods and wildfires have a safe place to stay and a good meal,” said Charley Shimanski, Red Cross senior vice president of disaster services. “The Red Cross works year-round to be prepared to help people affected by emergencies, and that’s why we’re able to respond to so many disasters at one time.”

The Red Cross currently has disaster relief operations active in more than a dozen states, and current estimates for Red Cross relief for Hurricane Irene alone are from $10 million to $15 million.

Those who want to help 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 www.redcross.org 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,DC20013.

 About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies 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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