Floods and Wildfires Demand Immediate Response
For the past two weeks, northern and central Texas have been hit with floods submerging hundreds of residences and businesses and leaving 11 people dead. Torrential storm systems continue flooding throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. In addition to the Midwest flooding, wildfires have devastated the Lake Tahoe community in California, destroying homes and forcing people to evacuate. The American Red Cross was among the first on the ground responding to these disasters by providing food, shelter, counseling and other assistance made possible by the financial support from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program and funds from the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
The Annual Disaster Giving Program and the Disaster Relief Fund are the financial resources through which the Red Cross can rush relief to disaster victims before the first donations have been given in response to these disasters. While additional donations are no longer needed to support the Red Cross’s response to the California wildfires, financial contributions are still needed to support the relief efforts for the massive flooding that continues to plague the Midwest. Emergency officials said Texas is experiencing its most extensive flooding since 1957. Early cost estimates for the Red Cross response in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas is approximately $7 million, with an estimated $6 million of the costs designated for Texas.
Donations enable the Red Cross to provide essential resources needed to cope with the immediate aftermath of disasters and to deliver hope to disaster victims. Since the first sign of trouble in the Midwest, Red Cross volunteers and employees have opened shelters and fixed locations where people can find shelter and get a hot meal, and deployed Emergency Response Vehicles to meet the needs of those who cannot come to the Red Cross. Red Cross workers are also distributing comfort kits and clean-up kits and are initiating damage assessment.
In the coming weeks and months, the Red Cross will work with community partners to identify resources that can aid in the recovery of individuals and families affected by the Midwest floods and the California wildfires. As their needs evolve, the Red Cross will continue to help them through this process. The public’s continued support of the Disaster Relief Fund is essential to the Red Cross, which will help provide this lifesaving support in these affected communities.
“Our Annual Disaster Giving Program members and fellow Americans who support our disaster relief work ensure the Red Cross has the resources to respond to disasters before they even strike,” said Kathleen Loehr, Interim Senior Vice President of Development at the American Red Cross. “The help and generosity of these companies and individuals becomes even more critical during these times of multiple disasters.”
Americans can join the Annual Disaster Giving Program members in supporting the Disaster Relief Fund and help provide food, shelter, counseling and other assistance to the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year. Log-on to www.redcross.org or call 1-800- RED CROSS to make a donation.
Annual Disaster Giving Program members pledge donations on an on-going basis, in advance of major disasters, to help the Red Cross ensure immediate response to meet the needs of those affected by disasters of all sizes, at no cost and regardless of income.
Annual Disaster Giving Program members include:
American Express Foundation
Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation
ConAgra Foods Foundation
JCPenney Company Fund
Lowe’s Companies, Inc
Marriott International, Inc
Merck & Co., Inc
Nestlé Waters North America
State Street Corporation
TJX Companies, Inc
Woodman of the World/Omaha Woodman Life Insurance Society
The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills to millions; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.
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