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Gulf Coast Residents to Benefit From Gift of Kuwaiti People
Date:7/16/2009

BATON ROUGE, La., July 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross unveiled today the first of four new facilities designed to help the organization boost its disaster response capabilities along the Gulf of Mexico. The new Red Cross buildings, located in Baton Rouge, LA, Tallahassee, FL, Mobile, AL, and the metropolitan New Orleans area were made possible by a $25 million gift from the Kuwaiti people through the Kuwait Red Crescent Society. The new buildings will store supplies and equipment that will speed the delivery of food and shelter to the survivors of future disasters.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090108/RedCrossLOGO)

The new facilities are all designed to withstand hurricane-force winds, and to have sufficient back-up generator power and communications equipment to allow the Red Cross to continue emergency operations should a disaster damage the area's infrastructure. Emergency workers will even be able to sleep and shower on-site if necessary.

"These new facilities will be our hubs for future disaster operations in the Gulf Coast area," said Jerry De Francisco, Red Cross President of Humanitarian Services, who was present for the ribbon cutting with Dr. Hilal Al Sayer of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society. "We are extremely grateful to both the people of Kuwait and Kuwait Red Crescent Society for their generosity. Their support will help advance our response during any future disasters in this part of the country."

Previously, Red Cross facilities in the Gulf area were not built to survive strong hurricane winds, and had limited back-up power systems.

The structures will also be used to help ensure the Gulf Coast communities are prepared for future emergencies and disasters, with space available to hold trainings, disaster planning meetings and exercises. The Louisiana Capital Area Chapter in Baton Rouge is the first of the chapter buildings to be completed, and the largest. The other new facilities are expected to be completed over the next nine months.

The gift from Kuwait was also used to purchase and outfit 15 new emergency response vehicles (ERVs), also being housed in hurricane-prone states, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The new ERVs are not only being used locally, but have also responded to other disasters across the country.

About the American Red Cross:

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 www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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