Press Release: Red Cross Continues Relief Effort in Storm-ravaged Miss. Counties

HATTIESBURG, MS, THURSDAY, February 14, 2013—The American Red Cross continues relief efforts today in storm-ravaged communities throughout Central and South Mississippi.

Disaster Action Teams (DAT) are on the ground in the affected counties with additional relief workers and supplies arriving daily. Red Cross is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and local emergency managers to identify what people need most to assist them on their road to recovery.

“Red Cross is focused on meeting people’s emergency needs and continues to move volunteers, equipment and supplies into affected communities,” said Charles Blake, director of relief operations, American Red Cross. “We’re also continuing to monitor the weather patterns and rising water levels and are prepared to open additional shelters if needed.”

Red Cross has established eight Service Delivery sites where residents may receive health services, emotional support and disaster relief items. Hours of operations are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Locations are as follows:

  • Lot adjacent to the Red Cross office site, 606 Hutchinson Avenue, Hattiesburg
  • Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Office, 660 Weatherly Road, Hattiesburg
  • Dollar General Store, 121 South Main Street, Petal
  • Mt. Carmel Church, 1101 North Main Street, Hattiesburg
  • First Trinity Church, 7th and Mobile Street, Hattiesburg
  • Temple Baptist Church, Bellwood Road at Hwy. 11, Oak Gove Community
  • West Point Baptist Church, 184 Hartfield Road, Hattiesburg
  • Ebenezer Baptist Church, 900 East 8th Street, Hattiesburg

The Southern Baptist Convention and The Salvation Army are partnering with Red Cross for mobile and shelter feeding, and are on the move serving meals and distributing relief items. Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) are in affected communities delivering bulk distribution items and meals.

To find a Red Cross shelter, people can download the Red Cross Hurricane app (http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/hurricane-app), visit mississippi-redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). For a list of items to bring with you to the shelter, visit www.mississippi-redcross.org. The following shelters are open.

  • Forrest County 361 Shelter on Sullivan Road off Hwy. 49 South in Hattiesburg, Forrest County
  • Lamar County Community Center at 99 Central Industrial Road in Purvis, Lamar County

There are 170 trained Red Cross disaster workers are providing emotional support, food, water and emergency supplies like cleanup kits and comfort kits to people in need.

Anyone seeking assistance with disaster-related needs, should contact their local Red Cross Office, search “Red Cross Mississippi” on Facebook or follow @RedCrossMiss on Twitter. For a list of Red Cross Offices and contact numbers, visit www.mississippi-redcross.org.

If someone would like to help people affected by emergencies like the recent Mississippi storms, they can visit www.mississippi-redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross Office.

Those affected can let loved ones know they are safe by registering on the Red Cross Safe and Well website. The site is secure and people can register by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. This site also connects with the Twitter and Facebook accounts of users.

Due to the recent storms and the amount of rainfall, flooding is a possibility is several Mississippi counties. People should continue listening to weather reports for the latest updates on flood warnings and watches. Follow these Red Cross flood safety tips.

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon water above your ankles or a flooded road, turn around and go another way.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood danger.
  • Keep away from loose or downed power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Stay out of any building that has water around it. Keep children out of the water.

As people return home to begin the clean-up, Red Cross has several safety steps that should be followed.

  • If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings – do NOT use candles.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
  • Keep all of your animals under your direct control.
  • Download “Picking up the Pieces after a Disaster” PDF as an additional resource: http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m7540319_picking-up-the-pieces-A5076.pdf

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