Friday, May 17, 2013

Texas Tornadoes -- Red Cross Supporting Response and Recovery

Since the storms passed Wednesday night and even into Thursday afternoon, the American Red Cross has been working to open shelters, assess damage and plan for the days and weeks ahead in more than five counties across Texas. Thanks to generous supporters like you, we have been able to shelter dozens of people in two Red Cross emergency shelters, serve nearly 1,400 meals and snacks, and mobilize nearly 100 trained disaster responders to support relief efforts caused by the 12 tornadoes now reported. Five emergency response vehicles circulated the affected counties, handing out needed items and providing health and emotional support.

The Red Cross has established a Disaster Assistance Hotline for anyone across Texas who has sustained damage to their homes as a result of last night’s storms. Affected residents are urged to call 866-505-4801.

Red Cross teams have spent the bulk of the last two days assessing damage across the area. In the Ranch Brazos community in Hood County, teams discovered that nearly 100 homes were affected with more than half of them being destroyed or unlivable for an extended amount of time. An additional 130 homes across the North Texas area have damage of some nature, but teams are still working on the damage breakdowns. These assessments assist the Red Cross in determining where the need is greatest.

The Red Cross is also working with community partners such as Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, Islamic Relief USA, and the Southern Baptist Convention to ensure that families get what they need to help. Red Cross caseworkers are also on hand to point those impacted toward recovery resources.  

The Red Cross is planning to distribute thousands of needed relief items for clean-up over the weekend. Relief items can include things like shovels, rakes, work gloves, trash bags and more. Areas will be established in impacted neighborhoods so that residents can pick up their supplies near their homes.

With the threat of more severe storms across Texas, the Plains and the Midwest over the weekend, the Red Cross continues to prepare and be ready for what’s to come.

Red Cross' Anita Foster public affairs, discusses the damage assessment survey with Ray Fishencord (left) and Alan Sloan (right) Nearly 100 homes were impacted in this neighborhood.