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Generous Donors Allow Red Cross to Respond Swiftly and Effectively to Southeastern Virginia Tornadoes

Costs of Response Essentially Met but Donations Still Needed to Prepare for Future Disasters Especially on the Eve of Hurricane Season

WASHINGTON, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross today announced that it has met the expected costs of the Southeastern Virginia tornadoes but donations to its Disaster Relief Fund are still needed to ensure it can respond to the next disaster, particularly with the beginning of hurricane season starting in less than a month.

After the tornadoes struck, the American Red Cross immediately deployed feeding vehicles, supplies and volunteers into the storm stricken area. Hundreds of homes and businesses sustained major damage, and the American Red Cross responded by providing supplies to the shelter setup by the City of Suffolk. Additional assistance, including mental health workers, moved into place to ensure that local residents have all of the help they need. The American Red Cross is also partnering with the local public health department to make sure enough nurses are available to those affected by the storms. In the coming weeks and months, the Red Cross will continue to work with community partners to identify resources that can aid in the long-term recovery of survivors.

This level of response would not have been possible without ongoing donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the Red Cross made investments to improve and augment its response capabilities, such as pre-positioning relief supplies in strategic locations across the country. While the Red Cross believes that current financial donations and pledges will be sufficient to cover the estimated costs of the Southeastern Virginia tornadoes, donations are still urgently needed for the Disaster Relief Fund as we move into a potentially busy disaster season.

"The compassion and generosity of the American people is evident in their support of the individuals and families affected by the Southeastern Virginia tornadoes. We thank our supporters for helping to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors through donations to the Red Cross. We hope people will continue to support our Disaster Relief Fund, which enabled such an efficient and effective response to the Southeastern Virginia tornadoes," said Mary S. Elcano, Acting President and CEO of the American Red Cross. "The Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters each year, and the Disaster Relief Fund ensures that help will be immediately available in neighborhoods across the country whenever disasters occur."

Many donations to the relief efforts remain in "pledge" form and, while not yet received by the Red Cross, have been incorporated into the estimate of funds raised for the Southeastern Virginia tornadoes response. The cost of the Red Cross's relief operations is estimated not to exceed $127,000. It is important for supporters to fulfill their pledged gifts.

The Red Cross is committed to keeping donors and the public informed of how donations are being used to provide ongoing relief and has a standard practice of informing the public when sufficient funds have been raised to cover the costs associated with a Red Cross disaster response. The Red Cross will no longer initiate fundraising activities specifically for the Southeastern Virginia tornadoes, but will continue to urge the public to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund or their local Red Cross chapter so the Red Cross can be there whenever and wherever people need us.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. 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. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting

SOURCE American Red Cross
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