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Red Cross helping southeast residents cope
with flooding nightmare
WASHINGTON, September 28, 2009 – The rains are over, but the clean-up has only just begun as hundreds of American Red Cross staff and volunteers continue to help those affected by the devastating flooding which inundated the area last week.
For nearly 200 people, home is still a Red Cross shelter. Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) are in flood-ravaged neighborhoods providing meals, snacks, and clean-up supplies. Red Cross disaster assessment teams are surveying homes for damage, and caseworkers are working directly with individuals and families, providing assistance for food, clothing, shelter and health-related concerns, as well as directing people to other recovery resources.
In about two weeks time, the Red Cross has served more than 12,700 meals and 11,400 snacks, and provided more than 28,300 items such as bleach, comfort kits, bottled water and clean-up kits.
The Red Cross pre-positions supplies and disaster equipment around the country to be able to rush relief services into affected areas when disaster strikes. Since 1997, members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) have pledged donations in advance of major disasters to ensure the Red Cross has the ability to respond immediately when needed. This year, members have provided more than $20 million in funding for the Disaster Relief Fund.
ADGP members include Altria Group, Inc., American Express, AXA Foundation, ConAgra Foods, FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Merck & Co., Inc., Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, Raytheon, Ryder Charitable Foundation, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target, The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare, and UPS.
“Thanks to the generosity of our Annual Disaster Giving Program members, we are able to mobilize human and material resources at a moments notice to provide lifesaving services,” said Jeffrey Towers, chief development officer at the American Red Cross. “These funds, coupled with the support of the American public, are critical during floods and enable the Red Cross to rush immediate relief to disaster victims before the first donation has been given.”
You can help people affected by disasters like the current floods 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. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting redcross.org.
Beginning to Assess the Widespread Damage
Don and Ruth Krohn are not your typical tech users. Both in their late sixties, technology really isn’t their thing. Today they are out and hitting the streets in Austell, Ga., with handheld computer devices, known as Rapid Data Management Systems (RDMS), to gather damage assessments for the American Red Cross.
In the 11 years the Krohns have been volunteering with the Greater Atlanta Chapter of the Red Cross the have been deployed to almost 30 disasters. Their roles vary from disaster to disaster, but this is the first time they have used ‘these high-tech gadgets’ to assist clients.
“At the end of the day is when you can see the results,”says Ruth. “You don’t see all the paperwork. You are done now when you come back in at the end of the day and you don’t have to do any other follow up after the data is sent.”
“It’s a very worth while thing,” adds Don with a chuckle saying how he only wishes that the screen was bigger.
The following information shows our total service delivery since the beginning of the Georgia floods:
• Shelters opened: 7
• Shelter Overnight Stays: 1,643*
• Meals served: 12,715*
• Snacks served: 11,495*
• Supplies distributed (like Clean up kits): 28,334*
• Emergency Response Vehicles on the ground: 21*
• Mental Health Consultations: 507*
• Health Services Consultations:373*
• Red Cross workers involved: 605*
American Red Cross begins client casework in Southeast
More than 430 volunteers and staff aid in Red Cross response
ATLANTA, September 27, 2009– The American Red Cross began client casework today as preliminary damage assessment shows that nearly 2,000 homes have been affected by flooding in 20 counties in the Southeast.
Ron Kitchens, who lives in Austelle, Ga., returned earlier this week to find flood waters had lifted his one-story ranch off its brick-and-mortar foundation and floated it down the street. The home now rests in the middle of the dead-end road.
Despite the fact that Kitchens and his wife can’t enter the house, they remain upbeat.
“We’re a lot luckier than some. We got out alive,” Kitchens said as he sifted through a Red Cross clean-up kit. “You gotta keep living. You gotta keep going.”
The Red Cross continues to provide shelter, food, mental health counseling and emotional support for residents throughout the affected areas.
Thirteen Red Cross disaster assessment teams surveyed homes again Sunday. Preliminary reports indicate that 1,939 homes in Georgia have been affected; 459 of which are destroyed, 517 with major damage.
Through mobile outreach into flood-affected areas, Red Cross caseworkers are connecting one-on-one with people in need and providing financial assistance for food, clothing, shelter and health-related concerns.
Along with providing emotional support, caseworkers can direct clients to recovery resources in the community, including Red Cross Distribution Centers for clean-up supplies (mops, brooms, pails, etc.) and personal hygiene items.
The Red Cross is working with emergency partners in the hard-hit communities of Marietta, Powder Springs and Austell to establish Distribution Centers for clean-up items and bottled water, which will be replenished throughout the day (Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.):
o Lawrenceville Fire Dept. Station 20
1801 Curse Road
Lawrenceville,, GA 30044
o Powder Springs Police Department
4483 Pineview Drive
Powder Springs, GA 30127
o Best Buy – Douglasville
6875 Douglas Blvd.
Douglasville, GA 30135
o Austell Shopping Center
5875 Love St.
Austell, GA 30168
Since flooding began through Sunday morning, the Red Cross:
• Has provided nearly 1,500 overnight shelter stays for about 500 affected residents and has provided more than 9,500 meals
• Has more than 430 volunteers and staff from 18 states on the ground in affected areas to support the disaster-caused needs of clients
• Has 21 Emergency Response Vehicles serving as mobile and fixed site feeding stations
• Currently, the Red Cross has two shelters open in Cobb County and Cherokee County:
o Cobb County Civic Center
548 South Marietta Parkway
Marietta, GA 30060
o Cherokee Recreation and Parks Agency (South Annex)
7545 Main St. Building 200
Woodstock, GA 30188
• Has provided more than 15,000 bulk items including bleach, comfort kits, clean-up kits and bottled water.
The U.S. government has declared 14 of the 20 affected counties in Georgia as federal disaster areas – Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Stephens and Walker.
How to Help
1. Donate to the Red Cross. You can help people affected by disasters like the current floods 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. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS
2. Donate blood. The need for blood is constant and the Southern Blood Services Region is committed to continuing to provide blood and blood products to those in need at all times. Visit http://www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to find a drive near you.
3. Donate your time. Sign up as a Red Cross volunteer. Visit http://www.redcross.org.
For continuous updates visit http://newsroom.redcross.org.
Technology has become an increasingly important part of everybody’s lives and when you don’t have it it’s a very noticeable difference, so we’re doing our part to help out.
Mid-Florida Red Cross Sends Two from Brevard County
to Floods in Southeast
(ROCKLEDGE) Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 — Today, two members of the American Red Cross Mid-Florida Region will join hundreds of disaster relief workers from around the country assisting flood victims in the Southeast.
Deputy Disaster Director Melissa Perez and volunteer Becky Smoak-Preston, both with the American Red Cross Mid-Florida Region, Space Coast Chapter, left this morning for Atlanta. They expect to remain in the affected areas for up to three weeks.
Perez started as a volunteer at the American Red Cross of Central Florida in 2005. She joined the Space Coast Chapter in October 2008 as Deputy Director of Emergency Services. The Mid-Florida Region makes it possible for her to go since she has the support of the Region’s four chapters covering 13 counties if anything happens locally.
“(I have) Huge thanks to the Mid-Florida Region and the Space Coast (Red Cross) for backing me up while I am gone,” Perez said on her Facebook profile. “I could not do this without you.”
Becky Smoak-Preston has volunteered with the Space Coast Chapter for a year and a half. She was in the office Friday sharpening skills as a caseworker when she got the call.
The American Red Cross is still sheltering people in Georgia and Tennessee, a sign that even though flood waters are slowly receding many are still unable to return home. On Saturday, the Red Cross began opening distribution sites to provide water, mops, brooms, work gloves, 5-gallon buckets and bleach to residents affected by the flood.