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Red Cross Responding to Tornadoes and Wildfires in South and Midwest
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Red Cross
April 10, 2009

The American Red Cross is offering relief to affected residents and emergency responders in areas of the South which were hammered by deadly tornadoes and in parts of the Texas and Oklahoma where wildfires raged.

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A string of 23 tornadoes struck yesterday in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.  According to news reports, three people have been killed and as many as 30 injured in Mena, AR, where extensive damage occurred.

Wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma damaged more than 100 homes.  Two people lost their lives to the fires in Texas, and at least 34 people were injured in Oklahoma, according to media reports.   Firefighters today were watching hot spots but reports indicated high winds which fanned the flames were dying down.

Red Cross Chapters in Arkansas have deployed Disaster Action Teams, and have Emergency Response Vehicles on standby.  In Texas, chapters are providing services for emergency responders, and have staffed evacuation and command centers.  In Oklahoma, chapters are providing mass care to emergency responders and those affected by the fires, and have prepared Red Cross shelters, and are supporting several community shelters.

In addition to the tornadoes and wildfires, the Red Cross is providing shelter and assistance in the South, particularly in Florida, after floods followed torrential rains  there.  Furthermore, the Red Cross continues to monitor conditions along the Red River in North Dakota, where the river is expected to crest again in the coming days.

Tornadoes can occur at any time of year.  In the southern states, peak tornado activity usually occurs in March through May.  Northern states see more tornadoes during the summer.  These twisters are most likely to strike between 3 and 9 p.m., but can occur at any hour. Wildfires are fueled by high winds and dry spring grass and brush.

For important information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe during either a tornado or wildfire, visit our web site.

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.

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