Disaster Update: Tornadoes in the Midwest

Update 5/23/11 4:30 PM EDT:

The Red Cross cannot accept donations of clothing, food, or other supplies. Reports on the Red Cross requesting toiletries or other items are incorrect.

Resource: FEMA website on How to Help

“Unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute… items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.”

Blood Donations
The Red Cross has already sent blood to a hospital in Pittsburg, Kansas for patients from Joplin and stands ready to help again if requested. We’ve also sent blood to hospitals in Northeastern Oklahoma.

The Red Cross blood supply is currently stable, but tragic events likes these are a reminder of the importance of a sufficient blood supply each and every day. Thanks to all of those who give and who volunteer so that the Red Cross is prepared. The blood sent to Pittsburg and Northeastern Oklahoma was donated by folks not knowing that their donation would help victims of the tornadoes. What this and every emergency reminds us is that the need for blood is ongoing, and the blood already available is what helps save lives in an emergency.

Eligible blood donors are asked to make a commitment to donate regularly and to schedule an appointment to give by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visiting redcrossblood.org.

Update 5/23/11 11:45 AM EDT: People in Joplin, MO seeking immediate transportation to shelter can find information on the Joplin city web site.

The Red Cross is providing food, shelter and emotional support for the people whose lives have been disrupted by these tornadoes that devastated neighborhoods in Missouri, Minnesota, and other parts of the Midwest.

  • Red Cross workers opened shelters in the damaged areas within hours and provided people with food and water and a safe place to stay.
  • Red Cross emergency response vehicles in Missouri responded immediately and more vehicles are on the way to help distribute food, water and relief supplies in the affected neighborhoods.
  • Red Cross workers are being deployed and relief materials, including personal hygiene items like toothbrushes and shampoo, tarps, coolers, rakes and other clean-up supplies, are now being sent to Joplin, Missouri.
  • Trained health services and mental health workers are enroute to areas affected by the tornadoes to help people cope in the aftermath of these tragic storms.

People should register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website to let loved ones know they are safe. They can also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). People in the affected areas can list themselves as “safe and well” on the site. Friends and family outside the disaster area can then search for messages from their loved ones by using a pre-disaster phone number or complete address.

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