WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross is responding across five states to help people affected by Sunday's devastating tornado outbreak and severe weather in the Midwest, providing food, shelter and comfort to families and individuals in need.
"Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by Sunday's severe storms," said Trevor Riggen, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. "Red Cross workers are on the ground now providing relief and we'll be there for weeks to come helping people pick up the pieces and get back on their feet."
Twelve Red Cross shelters were open in the hardest hit states of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio Sunday night. Meanwhile, Red Cross workers also are helping people in Kentucky and Michigan whose homes were damaged from storms. As roads reopen, Red Cross emergency vehicles will hand out meals, snacks and relief supplies in affected communities. Emergency aid stations are also open in some areas where people can get food and snacks, mental health and health care services, and information about what help is available.
This has been a deadly and devastating storm, and Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath. Health workers are also available to help people replace things like lost medications and eyeglasses.
Throughout affected communities, damage assessment teams are helping to determine the full scope of destruction left behind by the tornadoes while more workers, supplies and equipment are being mobilized in case they are needed. In the days ahead, Red Cross workers will work with families to make individual recovery plans, fill out paperwork, and connect them to other services to support recovery efforts. The Red Cross is also coordinating closely with government and community partners to provide help and support long term recovery efforts.
FOLLOW SAFETY STEPS The Red Cross reminds affected residents to return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so. They should also:
-Stay out of damaged buildings. Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes.
-Avoid fallen power lines or broken gas lines - immediately report them to the utility companies.
-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
-Use flashlights, not candles when examining buildings.
Generous donations from Red Cross members of the Annual Disaster Giving Program and Disaster Responders, which are made in advance of a specific disaster, support disaster preparedness and offset a range of expenses, including warehousing supplies, shelter and feeding costs, deploying the fleet of disaster response vehicles and reconnecting individuals separated during disasters.
HOW TO HELP People affected by severe weather and other disasters need help now. You can help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or 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. You can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.
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