Press Release: American Red Cross Responds to Historic Southern Floods

People can send a $10 donation to help those affected by disasters across the country by texting ‘REDCROSS’ to 90999

WASHINGTON, Monday, May 3, 2010—The American Red Cross has opened more than two dozen shelters in response to a powerful weather system that generated tornadoes and caused severe flooding across the South.

As of Monday morning, the Red Cross and its partners had 28 shelters open across the South, including Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee. Tennessee was particularly hard hit, with some areas in the state receiving as much as a foot of rain, leading to numerous road closures and forcing evacuations. Nearly 1,000 Tennesseans stayed at a shelter on Sunday night.

“We’re just at the beginning of this relief operation, and until the water begins to recede we won’t know just how much damage has occurred,” said Joe Becker, senior vice president of disaster services at the Red Cross. “Right now we’re focused on providing meals and a safe place to stay, but the Red Cross will be there for the long haul to help people get back on their feet.”

The Red Cross activated a mobile giving text donation effort today to enable interested people to make a $10 text donation to help people affected by disasters like the recent floods and tornadoes.

Customers of participating wireless carriers can text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Donations will appear on customers’ monthly bills or be debited from a prepaid account balance. Message and data rates may apply. Depending on the carrier, individuals can donate two or three times per month. The Red Cross is working with mGive to process and facilitate the mobile donations.

Floods are typically long-term relief operations, given that waters can take days to recede and can wreak devastating damage on homes.

As heavy rains continue across the South, the Red Cross encourages people in the affected area to register themselves and their loved ones on the Safe and Well Web site, to allow family and friends around the country to know of their status:

  • Visit and click on the Safe and Well link.
  • If you are currently being affected by this disaster, click: “List Myself as Safe and Well,” enter your pre-disaster address and phone number, and select any of the standard message options.
  • 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.
  • 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.

To find the location of open shelters, please visit and click on the “Find a Shelter” link to the bottom right of the page.

Time is of the essence in any disaster, and the Red Cross is able to respond immediately to the needs of individuals and families impacted by disaster anywhere in the United States, regardless of cost, thanks to donations by the Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP).

Members of the Annual Disaster Giving Fund are Altria Group, American Express, AXA Foundation, ConAgra Foods, FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, General Motors Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Merck, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, Ryder Charitable Foundation, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target, The TJX Companies, Inc., United Healthcare and UPS.

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