• Red Cross Delivers Relief from Persistent Tornadoes and Floods

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    May 31, 2019

    The American Red Cross is working tirelessly to help people devastated by disasters big and small, from home fires across the country to the recent, sweeping tornadoes and floods impacting over a dozen states—and counting.

    As many as 110 tornadoes were recorded by the National Weather Service over Memorial Day weekend, leaving a long trail of damage and dangerously high flood waters. But with additional severe weather forecasted for today and this week, even more states are likely to suffer with an incoming storm system set to bring heavy rain, strong winds and hail.

    The devastation is broad, reaching across hundreds of miles of land, and the need for support is extensive. In Missouri, the National Guard has been activated and is assisting with sandbagging to reinforce a stressed levee, but flooding continues nonetheless. The Red Cross is providing shelter, meals and emotional support for the many residents forced from their homes, lending a crucial helping hand to people with nowhere else to turn.

    The Dayton, Ohio region experienced a cacophony of strong storms on Monday night, including a possible EF-4 tornado, causing widespread damage and reported injuries; thousands are still without power. The Red Cross was there, deploying disaster workers in affected areas and providing refuge for 130 displaced residents across five shelters on Tuesday night.

    Neighborhoods in parts of Kansas were ordered to evacuate immediately to escape the rapidly rising Verdigris River, while authorities in Tulsa, Okla. encouraged residents to leave for higher ground because of nearby stressed levees. Another Okla. town is entirely submerged, and many other impacted areas remain inaccessible. To address the consistent need for relief, the Red Cross has opened 13 shelter across the state since May 21, with close to 900 overnight stays. Red Cross health services, mental health and spiritual care workers are present at shelters, helping comfort and care for people in their darkest hours.

    This support means everything to people like El Reno, Okla. resident Shane Clark, who along with his wife, survived the powerful EF-3 tornado that struck their small town late Saturday night. “It’s unbelievable,” Shane said. “I’ve never seen anything like this and the help and kindness that has come out to support those of us who lost everything.” Since March, the Red Cross has responded to 44 different disasters related to the ongoing extreme weather—mainly tornadoes and flooding—across the country. Volunteers and employees are working around the clock to deliver sorely needed relief. As of May 28, we’ve provided 7,500 shelter stays for individuals and families who were forced from their homes.

    Our work is only beginning. Many neighborhoods are still underwater, and it could be days or weeks until families are able to return home and assess damage. As our response grows, we will continue to coordinate with community and government partners to address people’s urgent needs and provide support to help them rebuild their lives and become more resilient against future crises.

    Red Cross Responds to Disasters Big and Small
    Red Cross workers are busy delivering relief and hope to people affected by disasters in communities throughout the U.S. More than 480 people spent Tuesday night in 31 Red Cross and community shelters, spanning California, throughout the Plains and Midwest and all the way to South Carolina.

    People in Texas are still recovering from devastating flooding, and the Red Cross is providing assistance there too. We’re distributing relief items, cleanup kits and helping survivors assess damage.

    Meanwhile, in Virginia, the Red Cross is delivering compassionate support to residents coping with the destruction and aftermath from a severe storm on Monday. The Red Cross is working to provide shelter, food, health services, recovery assistance and mental health services.

    How You Can Help

    Help people affected by disasters like storms and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

    Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org/donate or call 1-800-RED CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37864, Boone, IA 50037-0864.