Press Release: The American Red Cross Response 6.26.08

Cost of Recent Floods, Tornadoes and Wildfires Rises to At Least $30 Million
Ongoing relief operations combined with client assistance as residents return home push costs higher;
The Red Cross is executing largest disaster response since Hurricane Katrin
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Contact: Public Affairs Desk –  Telephone: (202) 303-5551

Washington, Thursday, June 26, 2008-The American Red Cross response to massive flooding across the Central United States, combined with ongoing relief operations for tornadoes and other disasters since April 1, will cost the organization at least $30 million, according to latest estimates. The Red Cross is mounting its largest relief effort since the response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005, surpassing the Southern California wildfires of 2007.

At the same time, a badly depleted Disaster Relief Fund means that the organization is borrowing funds to make up the difference between this cost and donations made to the fund. To date, individuals and companies have graciously contributed more than $13 million in donations and pledges. Others wishing to support the Red Cross with this and future disaster responses are encouraged to call 1-800-REDCROSS, or visit http://www.redcross.org to make a donation.

The Red Cross is actively helping communities who are still dealing with flood waters through support like emergency sheltering, food, clean up supplies and emotional support. The Red Cross has also begun client casework for those residents who are able to return home, connecting them to services to help get their homes and communities back in order, while offering clean up kits, meals, snacks and water to thousands of people. Dangerous wildfires across Northern California are threatening homes and lives, and the Red Cross is also there sheltering and feeding evacuees and firefighters battling these potentially deadly fires. Nationwide, the Red Cross has dealt with 36 major disaster operations since April.

“While the Red Cross continues to respond to the emergency needs of those displaced by flooding, we are beginning to work with those who are already able to go back home,” said Joe Becker, Senior Vice President, Disaster Services. “Support to those returning home is critical to the process of recovery, and the Red Cross provides these services even as we continue to respond to emergencies wherever we’re needed across the country.”

A long spring of dangerous weather, from flooding to tornadoes, left the Red Cross with few financial resources on hand. These current floods and the threat of an active hurricane season mean the Red Cross needs significant resources to deal with this and future disasters.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like floods and tornadoes by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS 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 http://www.redcross.org.

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