ATLANTA April 6, 2011 — Red Cross Disaster Action Teams continue to respond to the needs of their Georgia neighbors following a fast-moving line of thunderstorms that brought fierce lightning, heavy rains and hail, and strong winds to the state Monday night. The storms, which caused several home fires and downed numerous trees and power lines, resulted in six reported deaths and widespread property damage in 76 counties, including DeKalb, Rockdale, Fulton, Clayton, Henry and Butts counties in metro Atlanta. To date, dozens of Georgia families have turned to the Red Cross for help with food, clothing and temporary shelter.
Immediately after the storms, Red Cross volunteers sprang into action, providing food and shelter to affected residents and first responders, and conducting disaster assessments jointly with Emergency Management Agencies throughout the state. In hard-hit Gilmer County in North Georgia where an estimated 100 homes were damaged, the Red Cross opened a shelter at Gilmer County High School as a safe-haven for displaced families. Across the state, volunteers are providing health and emotional support and ensuring that basic disaster-caused needs are met. The Red Cross is also reaching out with support to families whose loved ones were injured or killed in the storms.
To date, Atlanta’s Red Cross has responded to calls for emergency assistance in six metro counties, providing help and comfort to 21 families. The storms were especially devastating in Butts County, where a father and his toddler son were killed when a tree landed in the family’s bedroom. “You wish you could do so much more,” said Hal Simmons, Atlanta Red Cross Disaster Action Team Captain.
Although tornadoes can occur during any time of the year in Georgia, the months of March through May are the most active, with a major peak in mid-April. Today, in fact, marks the anniversary of the 1936 Gainesville, Georgia tornado, one of the deadliest tornado disasters in U.S. history. The Red Cross urges Georgia families to take steps to prepare themselves for disasters like the recent storms by making a plan, building an emergency supplies kit and staying informed. Red Cross tornado safety tips and other preparedness information are available at www.georgiaredcross.org.
You can help people affected by disasters like the Georgia storms, as well as countless crises at home and around the world by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.