The Red Cross continues to expand its work providing food, comfort, shelter and relief supplies after the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma. To see an interactive map showing areas affected, go to: http://arc-nhq-gis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/OnePane/basicviewer/index.html?appid=a8e1899880b34384abb8e2bf371ce924
More than 300 Red Cross disaster workers in Oklahoma have shelters, kitchens and emergency aid stations open where people can find a safe refuge, food and snacks, emotional support, relief supplies, health care services and information about what other help is available.
Meals are being prepared and distributed from two kitchens supported by the Southern Baptist Convention. More than 16,000 meals and snacks have been served.
More than 2,800 relief items have already been distributed including comfort kits containing personal toiletries and recovery supplies including coolers, buckets, gloves, dust masks, trash bags, flashlights, tarps, shovels, rakes and blankets
We have 30 Red Cross emergency response vehicles distributing food and relief supplies throughout the affected neighborhoods.
Shelters are open in Moore and Shawnee in Oklahoma and in Texas. More than 420 people sought refuge in Red Cross and community shelters Tuesday night in the two states.
Red Cross health services volunteers are working with the Medical Reserve Corps to visit the injured in local hospitals and offering services at the emergency aid stations like helping people replace prescriptions and other medical items.
Mental health workers are providing emotional support in shelters and emergency aid stations.
Many families have been affected by this horrific storm and Red Cross Spiritual Care Teams are working with partners to comfort those affected.
The Red Cross will be there in these affected areas to help people get back on their feet, and is working with other groups to give additional attention to children.
The Red Cross is working with Save the Children and Children’s Disaster Services, visiting shelters, community centers, churches and after-school programs to assist with the needs of children in the community.
In the coming days, Red Cross workers will meet with many affected families to help with emergency needs and connect people with other resources and tools to support their recovery.
This is an emotional time for people in the Moore community in Oklahoma, as many people have lost loved ones and everything they own in the third big tornado to hit this area in 15 years. Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath.
People can reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.
People may be experiencing a variety of difficult feelings and thoughts – fear, anger, confusion, shock, disbelief, sadness and grief. These are all normal feelings associated with experiencing a disaster like this.
Reacting to a disaster like this can affect not only how someone feels, but the way they think and what they think about, their sleep, their daily lives and the way they interact with others. Children and the elderly are especially at risk.
People should try to limit their exposure to the disaster.
They should reach out and accept help from others and stay connected with family and other support systems.
Allow children to feel upset and encourage them to express their feelings and thoughts.
Return to a daily routine as much as possible.
This relief effort is very large, involving multiple communities where tornadoes struck over several days. You can help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises by making a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
You can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.
Tornadoes can strike anywhere, at any time, and the best time to get ready is before the weather turns bad.
People in areas at risk for storms should stay informed about changing weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials.
Download the free American Red Cross Tornado App, available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. The app gives mobile device users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a tornado.
More information on tornado preparedness is also available at redcross.org.
As people begin to deal with the aftermath of the tornadoes, the Red Cross reminds them to return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so. They should also:
Stay out of damaged buildings. Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes.
Avoid fallen power lines or broken gas lines – immediately report them to the utility companies.
If someone smells gas or hears a hissing noise, they should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department
Use flashlights, not candles when examining buildings.
Thanks to the generosity of volunteer blood donors, there is enough blood on the shelves right now to meet patient needs across the country.
All eligible blood and platelet donors can schedule an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead to help ensure blood is readily available this summer. Please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org.