Sunday, March 29, 2009 – The American Red Cross is now focusing its operations in North Dakota and Minnesota on sheltering families displaced by the Red River’s record rise and offering around-the-clock feeding to volunteers who are still filling sandbags. Though the river appears to have crested, fears remain that waters could rise again later in the week as additional snowfall melts. Breaches in the levels are also possible, and Red Cross mobile feeding units are supporting the teams who are inspecting the walls of sandbags protecting the area. The National Weather Service reports water levels could remain high for at least eight more 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 www.redcross.org. 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 has opened six shelters and have provided well over 630 overnight stays to date. Nearly 700 Red Cross disaster volunteers have worked in the area, helping share more than 38 thousand meals and nearly 110 thousand snacks to evacuated families and emergency workers. Thirty-four 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 were previously hit with heavy rain, high winds and tornadoes. A major spring snowstorm buried parts of Colorado and Wyoming under more than a foot of snow last week, and heavy snow has struck Oklahoma, 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.
Help people affected by disasters like the recent flooding and winter storms, 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 provide shelter, food, counseling 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 www.redcross.org.