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American Red Cross Issues Appeal for Disaster Relief Fund
Date:6/13/2008

Anticipates spending in excess of $15 Million for recent disasters

WASHINGTON, June 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross anticipates spending millions as it moves forward with relief efforts for the victims of flooding and tornadoes across seven states, an enormous geographic area. From Kansas to West Virginia, the Red Cross is present with vast amounts of clean up supplies, dozens of shelters and tens of thousands of meals.

Already, more than 1,400 Red Cross workers are assisting people in the affected area, and the organization is gearing up to provide additional relief. The current relief operations follow two extremely busy months for the Red Cross, with 27 disaster operations in April and May. These operations will cost the Red Cross millions of dollars and the help of the American public is needed to meet the growing needs.

"Our first priority in flooding is to provide shelter and food for people in the immediate area until the waters recede and recovery can begin," said Joe Becker, senior vice president, Disaster Services for the American Red Cross. "But the help we give depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public."

Over the past days, the Red Cross has responded to tornados in Kansas, and floods in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Indiana and West Virginia. Thousands of people are staying in more than 41 shelters and more than 115,000 meals and snacks have been served. This spring, the American Red Cross responded to more than 30 large scale disasters due to severe weather.

The Red Cross is coordinating with local emergency officials, community organizations and faith-based groups to pre-position relief supplies, such as cots, blankets and comfort kits, and is preparing to open additional shelters if needed.

"We are concerned for the more than 500,000 people who live within five miles of this stretch of the Mississippi River as the floods move south," Becker said. "Red Cross chapters along the river are monitoring the situation, and are prepared to mobilize resources to respond."

The Red Cross encourages those affected to register their status on the Safe and Well Web site on http://www.redcross.org so loved ones can know they are safe.

It is anticipated that relief efforts will cost tens of millions of dollars. In order to quickly respond to anyone with disaster-caused needs, the Red Cross must have money available immediately. This emergency resource is provided by the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Visit http://www.redcross.org to find out the latest information and learn how you can help; you can also visit http://redcrossmidwestflooding.wordpress.com/maps/ to view an interactive map for the current Red Cross response.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; 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 humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit http://www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://www.redcrosschat.org.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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