The American Red Cross opened two shelters in Atlanta last night and is keeping them on standby tonight in case severe weather again threatens the city, which was hit by a violent storm (possibly a tornado) Friday evening.
Emergency crews respond in the aftermath of a tornado that swept through Atlanta the evening of March 14. (Photo courtesy wsbtv.com.)
At least 25 people were injured by the storm, which damaged several landmark structures in the city's business district, tore the roof off an apartment building, uprooted trees in residential neighborhoods, and left tens of thousands of residents without electricity.
"At its peak, one of our shelters had a population last night of about 70 people," said Ruben Brown, media relations specialist for the Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter of the Red Cross. "We're working with the Atlanta Housing Authority, one of our government partners, to transition the shelter residents to extended-stay hotels, and we're putting the shelters on standby for tonight because we expect another round of severe storms to come through the area this evening."
Several teams of disaster assessment volunteers are visiting areas affected by Friday's severe weather to determine where the Red Cross can offer assistance. In addition to shelter, the Red Cross provides food, clean-up kits, and health and mental health services to disaster victims. The Red Cross also feeds emergency workers, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, and provides blood and blood products to disaster victims.
"This operation is evolving," Brown said. "As we're made aware of needs, we're responding to them."
Atlanta residents affected by the storm are encouraged to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well List to inform family and friends of their status. People with loved ones in the Atlanta area can also use the site to inquire about their safety.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross provides relief to victims of disasters at home and abroad, collects and distributes nearly half of the nation's blood supply, teaches lifesaving skills, and supports military members and families. The American Red Cross, a charity and not a government agency, depends on voluntary contributions of time, money and blood to perform its humanitarian mission.