Last night, almost 60,000 people went to bed on a Red Cross cot, covered themselves with a Red Cross issued blanket and drifted to sleep knowing they were in the warmth and safety of an American Red Cross shelter.
Jana Sweeny of the Red Cross goes for a walk with Alexandra and Ryan Ramirez through the evacuation shelter located at the Dutchtown High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hurricane Gustav is raging outside with howling wind and torrential rain.
Photographer: Gene Dailey
Red Cross shelters currently dot the landscape of the Gulf Coast States-343 shelters, to be exact.The Red Cross has set up shelters for the tens-of-thousands displaced by Hurricane Gustav in ten states.Shelter refuge stretches from Florida to Texas, and as far north as Kentucky.
Looking back, on the night of Hurricane Katrina's landfall, the Red Cross had only 40,000 people in shelters.The 60,000 people in shelters three years later prove that this time evacuations worked well and people took them seriously.
The Red Cross urges shelter residents to be patient, and to stay put until authorities announce that it is safe to return homes. At this point, a shelter is the safest place to be.There could be flooding, the hurricane could spawn tornadoes, three more storms are on the way and a million people are without power.
When citizens are allowed to return home, the Red Cross will be there with meals, snacks, cleaning supplies, toiletries, mental health support, and more.In preparation, the organization has begun moving workers into evacuated areas, along with Red Cross emergency response vehicles and mobile kitchens.
If you or a loved has evacuated, or is in a potentially affected area, register yourself on the Red Cross Safe and Well Website at www.redcross.org, or call a loved one and ask them to register you. The Red Cross provides this online tool to help families and individuals notify loved ones that they are safe during an emergency, which can help bring peace of mind in challenging times.
You can help people affected by thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the Hurricanes of 2008, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. We use this fund to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disasters who need our help.
Donors can go online to www.redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS. You can also use your cell phone to donate $5 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by text messaging the keyword "GIVE" to "2HELP" (24357). Donations will appear on monthly bills or be debited from a prepaid account balance. All applicable text rates apply. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, you should call 1-800-REDCROSS.
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 the Hurricanes of 2008, 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.
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