A weekend of rain caused flooding in several water-logged Midwest states, causing destruction in many communities and forcing thousands to evacuate their homes. Several states in the Central United States are also dealing with severe weather and more rain is expected in many areas.
In Wisconsin, heavy rains and tornadoes forced evacuations. President Bush authorized federal aid Sunday to assist those in affected in several counties in Indiana and on Monday, Governor Jim Doyle declared a state of emergency for 29 counties. Red Cross teams have already begun to assess the damage in affected areas as they are determined safe for access. Additional disaster declarations may come as more damage occurs.
The American Red Cross is assisting storm-ravaged communities with a range of support. Dozens of Red Cross shelters have been opened in Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and Nebraska to house those unable to return home because of water or other weather related damage. Red Cross emergency response vehicles are covering communities with food, snacks and clean up kits. Several dozen service delivery sites are being established and a kitchen supported by the Southern Baptist Convention is serving meals in Central Indiana.
The tornado season is in full swing and the likelihood of continued storms, tornadoes and flooding remains high. The recent offspring of floods and tornadoes has uprooted the lives of many, and the Red Cross continues to urge families and communities to prepare by creating and practicing a disaster plan. Learn about your area's flood risk and elevation above flood stage. Your local Red Cross chapter, emergency management office, local National Weather Service office, or planning and zoning department can provide information about your area's flood risk.
Individuals looking for family and friends who may have been affected by the storm can visit the Safe and Well website.
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, DC20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.