On May 19, the first in a series of deadly tornadoes hit Oklahoma. One month later, trained Red Cross caseworkers and other disaster volunteers continue to help and comfort Oklahomans with food, relief supplies, health services and emotional support. Thanks to the public’s generosity, the Red Cross has received approximately $26.5 million in donations and pledges for its response to the Oklahoma tornadoes.
The Red Cross has already spent or committed more than $6 million for its emergency response and initial assistance to families in Oklahoma, and estimates that this will grow to $7 million to $9 million. This has included:
- Deploying more than 1,800 workers from all over the country
- Serving nearly 460,000 meals and snacks
- Distributing nearly 400,000 relief items
- Providing more than 20,000 health services and mental health contacts
- Working alongside community shelters to provide more than 6,300 shelter stays
The Red Cross also plans to allocate another $3 million to $5 million to provide assistance for families who, working with caseworkers, will receive help with unmet emergency needs and recovery planning. This could include assistance with transportation needs, home repairs, security deposits for new housing, storage of belongings and other needs. In the month since the first tornado, the Red Cross has opened more than 4,600 cases and provided services to over 5,000 families through the Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs).
Working together with local, state and federal partners, the Red Cross is drawing up additional plans on how it will continue to support Oklahoma communities. While needs may change, the Red Cross at present is prepared to support funding in five areas:
- Emergency response and initial assistance such as shelter, food and relief items.
- Case management for people that need assistance with a variety of long term needs such as transportation, security deposits for new housing, home repairs and storage needs.
- Individual and community resilience such as support for building safe rooms in homes, schools and communities.
- School preparedness programs that include disaster drills, storm-ready programs and First Aid kits.
- Community rebuilding projects such as repairs to buildings and infrastructure.