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Darkness and Cold Prevail in the Midwest
Date:12/11/2007

American Red Cross Provides Tips on What to Do Now as States Struggle with the Ice Storm

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Red Cross chapters throughout the Midwest are keeping pace with community needs caused by widespread power outages and a frozen landscape, despite several chapter offices being closed due to the recent ice storm. Red Cross volunteers and employees are working from home or using partnerships with local government or community services to provide much needed assistance to the thousands of people left without power. The beautiful, but deadly, ice storm covering much of the middle of the country has shown that even those most prepared need help at times like these.

The widespread power outage and disruption to transportation has emergency responders working tirelessly. The Red Cross has opened dozens of shelters to help those in dire need of warmth and food, while government agencies, utility companies and emergency responders are working to manage power and transportation services. Every county in Oklahoma has been affected by power outages and media reports from there include several fatalities; Missouri has also been heavily affected, as have parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas and Iowa. The numbers of overnight stays in Red Cross and community shelters will likely climb from hundreds to thousands.

Even those accustomed to dealing with severe weather are struggling. Residents expect to be home-bound at times during the winter, and many have disaster-supply kits at home, in their cars and in the office that include food, water, medicine, battery-powered radios and flashlights. The scale of this ice storm is what makes it so difficult -- the storm that began over the weekend continues to hover. People and organizations will need to stretch their resources.

Red Cross counts on its volunteers, partnerships with community-based organizations and national organizations
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SOURCE American Red Cross
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