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American Red Cross Relief Efforts Underway for Gustav

Sheltering efforts beginning as evacuees leave coastal areas

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- As mandatory evacuations are issued in the Gulf Coast states, the American Red Cross is starting to receive evacuees in shelters throughout the Gulf Coast. The Red Cross has relief operations ready in four states: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Everyone in the path of the storm is urged to prepare, listen to officials and heed evacuation orders when instructed to do so; evacuation orders must be taken seriously.

If you are evacuating, you need to bring important items with you, including but not limited to:

-- Medical supplies, such as prescription medications and dentures

-- Toiletries

-- Clothing and bedding-a change of clothes and a sleeping bag or bedroll and pillow for each household member

-- Games/comfort items for children

-- Disaster supplies-flashlight, batteries, radio, first aid kit, bottled water

-- Car keys and keys to the place you may be going (friend's or relative's home)

This is the largest Red Cross relief effort since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and in preparation the Red Cross has moved workers, cots, blankets, comfort kits, ready-to-eat meals and more than 200 mobile feeding trucks into the area. The first priority for the Red Cross during any disaster is to provide people with food, shelter and emotional support. Disaster workers are on the receiving end to make those who leave their homes as comfortable as possible in Red Cross shelters.

If you or your loved ones are in the potentially affected areas, register yourself on the Red Cross Safe and Well Website at, or call a loved one and ask them to register you. The Red Cross provides this online tool to help families and individuals notify loved ones that they are safe during an emergency, which can help bring peace of mind in challenging times.

The Safe and Well Website is easy to use:

1. Visit, and click on the Safe and Well link

2. If you are currently being affected by these disasters, click: 'List Myself as Safe and Well', enter your pre-disaster address and phone number, and select any of the standard message options.

3. If you are concerned about a loved one, click "Search' and enter the person's name and pre-disaster phone number or address. If they have registered, you will be able to view the messages that they posted

4. If you don't have internet access, you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register yourself and your family. Follow the prompts for disaster information.

If you have not been advised of an evacuation, prepare these items now in case you have to leave. For more information on how to prepare for an evacuation, visit

You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the Hurricanes of 2008, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. This Fund enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disasters. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation by either contacting 1-800-HELP NOW or mailing your donation, with the designation, to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.

SOURCE American Red Cross
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