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Red Cross Readies Shelters As Flood Waters Threaten to Top Levees
Date:3/27/2009

Fargo Residents Urged to Register with Safe and Well

WASHINGTON, March 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross is sending more disaster workers into North Dakota and Minnesota today to staff shelters that will be needed in the event of evacuations should the Red River top levees as it rises to record heights. Projections are that the Red River could crest at 43 feet Saturday, more than 20 feet above flood stage, and the National Weather Service reports water levels could remain high for days.

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"Our supplies and workers already have been on the ground in North Dakota and Minnesota for a week, but we are getting ready for the long haul," said Joe Becker, senior vice president of disaster services for the Red Cross. "Our President, Gail McGovern, has pledged that we will be here for as long as it takes."

Residents who may be affected by the flooding should register on the Red Cross Safe and Well Website at www.redcross.org. Those without internet access can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register. A trusted friend or loved one can also register evacuees on the site.

The Red Cross encourages evacuees to bring any prescription and emergency medication, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items. Don't forget special items for children and infants such as diapers, formulas and toys, along with special items for family members who are elderly or disabled.

The Red Cross has already opened shelters and is prepared to have more available to help people affected by the flooding. More than 400 Red Cross disaster workers are working in the area. Thirty Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) are providing mobile feeding and more are on the way. More than 50,000 ready-to-eat meals are already on site, and mobile kitchens are deploying with a capacity of serving 15,000 meals a day.

Even as the Red Cross is assisting the residents of North Dakota and Minnesota, severe spring weather is also hammering other parts of the country, and Red Cross is providing help to people in those areas as well. Nine counties in Mississippi have been hit with heavy rain, high winds and tornadoes. A major spring snowstorm has buried parts of Colorado and Wyoming under more than a foot of snow and heavy snow is predicted for New Mexico, Kansas, Michigan and the Ohio Valley. Red Cross has shelters open to help people stranded by the snow and Disaster Action Teams are on the scene in Mississippi.

Those interested in helping people affected by disasters like the current floods and winter storms, can do so by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Contributions enable the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Secure online donations can be made by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Donations can also be mailed to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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