Red River Flooding: National News Release

March 27, 2009


Red Cross Readies Shelters As Flood Waters Threaten to Top Levees
Fargo Residents Urged to Register with Safe and Well

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2009 – 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.

“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 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.

Red River Flooding: Update

March 23, 2009


Red Cross Moves Supplies into North Dakota as Rising Flood Waters Threaten

Trailers Filled with Cots, Blankets, Meals Begin Arriving in Fargo

As residents of the Red River valley prepare for potentially record flooding, the American Red Cross is moving into position to provide help where needed. More than 24,000 prepackaged meals are expected to arrive today, along with thousands of cots, blankets and toiletry kits.

These supplies are expected to be used for evacuation shelters, which may open within the next 48 to 72 hours, depending on weather conditions. In addition, the Red Cross is gearing up for an extended relief operation, placing volunteers from around the nation on stand by to move to North Dakota when needed.

The Red Cross already has five mobile feed trucks in the area providing food and drinks for the volunteer crews racing to fill 1.9 million sandbags needed to fight the flood waters. The city has set up Sandbag Central, where machines fill sandbags around the clock. About 400,000 to 500,000 bags must be filled each day to reach the goal of 1.9 million by the end of the week, according to local officials.

Major flooding hit the area in 1997, after which a levee system was built to protect the city of Fargo. However, weekend storms increased the flood threat and sped up emergency preparations in the Red River Valley. Flood stage is 18 feet, and some forecasters are reporting the river could rise as high as 52 feet above flood level over the next week, worse than conditions in 1997.

Winter Storms: National Update

January 28, 2009




WASHINGTON, January 28, 2009 – The American Red Cross provided warmth and shelter for almost 500 people overnight whose homes were without power from the winter storm that has pummeled its way across the eastern half of the country. According to news reports, the storm has been blamed for 19 deaths and numerous injuries as it moves into the Northeast, bringing with it additional warnings of power outages from the ice and snow.

Officials in many of the affected areas say it may be days until power can be restored. Winter storm warnings were posted from Arkansas to Maine.

Red Cross opened 44 shelters Tuesday in Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois and Indiana. As the storm moves into the Northeast, officials are warning of additional power outages related to the storm.

The storm has also kept residents away from Red Cross blood drives due to the extremely hazardous traveling conditions. Red Cross is asking those who can give blood to make an appointment by visiting or by calling 1-800-GIVE LIFE. You must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds to give blood. Some states allow 16-year-olds to donate with parental consent. If you have given blood before, it must be 56 days since your last donation.

Red Cross offers the following safety tips for winter storms and power losses:

  • Avoid unnecessary travel. Avoid driving and other travel until conditions improve.
  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks.
  • If you shovel snow, be extremely careful. Take frequent breaks and avoid overexertion.
  • Use only a flashlight for emergency lighting. Do not use candles.
  • Turn off electrical equipment you were using when your power went out.
  • Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer.
  • If you are using a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect the generator to your home’s electrical system.
  • Do not run your generator inside your home or garage.

You can get more information on winter storm and power loss safety by visiting


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