The American Red Cross continues to respond after a deadly tornado ravaged the New Orleans metro area in the early morning hours of Feb. 13, 2007. With more than 300 homes affected in the area, several Red Cross chapters have been providing services to residents as they begin the long and arduous clean-up effort.
American Red Cross Community Recovery Specialist Robin Barber distributes cold water and snacks from an emergency response vehicle to local first responders after a tornado cut a swath of destruction through the New Orleans area on Feb. 13, 2007. (Photo Credit: American Red Cross)
Following the tornado, the Southeast Louisiana chapter immediately deployed several emergency response vehicles (ERVs) to the scene. A total of five ERVs were positioned throughout the region, serving meals and snacks to members of the community, search and rescue teams as well other emergency workers.
The chapter also opened two shelters that offered more than 100 guests a clean, safe place to stay. The first shelter in Jefferson Parish, at the Westwego Gymnasium, remains open and another in Orleans Parish at the Second Free Mission Baptist Church has since closed its doors.
As of Friday, Feb. 16, more than 880 meals and snacks have been served to residents waiting to return home. Partnering with the Southern Baptist Mobile Kitchen, the chapter also helped serve roughly 400 meals to emergency workers at two fixed food distribution sites.
To the west, the Acadiana Chapter was busy assisting residents of St. Martin, Iberia and Lafayette parishes. With roughly 50 homes damaged in the three parishes, chapter volunteers distributed comfort kits that contain basic hygiene items and home clean-up kits to affected residents.
American Red Cross IT Specialist Ricky Staves meets New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin while serving meals and snacks from the Red Cross command post.
(Photo Credit: American Red Cross)
“It’s going to be a difficult clean-up and will take some time, but the Red Cross will be here for the long haul,” said Karen Collins, spokeswoman for the Southeast Louisiana Chapter.
Red Cross outreach teams continue to assess disaster needs and distribute blue tarps provided by the Jefferson Parish Emergency Operations Center, the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. The teams will continue to canvas the impacted areas as long as they are needed.
For more information about tornadoes and what you can do to prepare and cope with disasters, visit the "Get Prepared" section of RedCross.org or contact your local Red Cross chapter.
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 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, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.