Red Cross Calls for ACTION NOW during National Hurricane
National Poll Reveals Hurricane-prone Communities
Less Prepared Than Before
WASHINGTON, Friday, May 14, 2004 — National
Hurricane Preparedness Week kicks off May 16 with dismal news
– only 40 percent of hurricane-prone communities are prepared,
according to a national poll released by the American Red
Cross. The poll revealed that nearly 60 percent of
hurricane-prone residents do not have an evacuation
plan or a disaster supplies kit packed with lifesaving tools.
the last minute to prepare or not believing that hurricanes
can hit your community is a huge mistake,” said Joe Becker,
Vice President of Response, American Red Cross. “We saw that
last year when Hurricane Isabel devastated communities as far
north as the District of Columbia and Maryland – many people
were caught off-guard.”
Hurricanes can devastate communities anywhere along the
coasts. In 2003, Hurricane Isabel wreaked havoc in North
Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia,
causing more than 51,000 people to seek refuge in 400 Red
Cross shelters. More than 20,000 Red Cross disaster relief
workers delivered 2.2 million meals and distributed more than
21,000 clean-up kits to those in need.
Two years ago, 6,000 Red Cross relief workers responded to
Hurricane Lili and Tropical Storm Isidore by sheltering 20,820
evacuees and providing mental health counseling for 10,000
people in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
In September 1999, Hurricane Floyd forced the largest
peacetime evacuation in United States history. The Red Cross
responded with $32.9 million in aid to victims from Florida to
“Somehow people have fallen into a false sense of security
and are not taking steps to prepare,” Becker said.
“Fortunately, National Hurricane Preparedness Week offers
people a reminder to take action now before the disaster
On a positive note, the survey indicates that coastal
residents who do make preparations take the issue very
seriously. Of those households with an evacuation plan, 84
percent have included their children in the disaster planning
process. Additionally, 71 percent of families who have a
person with a disability or health problem have special plans
to take care of their needs – a significant increase from 50
percent in 2001.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and
ends November 30. Expert hurricane predictor William Gray
believes the Atlantic will spawn 14 "named" tropical storms
this year, and that eight of them will grow into hurricanes.
Select Lowe’s stores in 14 coastal markets are
collaborating with local American Red Cross chapters to host
Hurricane Preparedness Fairs throughout June and
July. The fairs will include local emergency response
organizations and vendors, and several also will include
special appearances by hurricane readiness expert and founder
of the Hurricane Intercept Research Team, Mark Sudduth.
Residents also can pick up free copies of the Lowe’s and
American Red Cross Hurricane Readiness Guide and Map,
available at coastal Lowe’s stores beginning late May.
As communities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts prepare
for hurricane season, the Red Cross recommends the following
safety steps and tips:
Your help is needed to ensure that the American Red Cross
can be there wherever and whenever disaster strikes. Please
make a donation to the Disaster Relief Fund today by calling
1-800-HELP-NOW or visit http://www.redcross.org/pressrelease/www.redcross.org
to make a secure online credit card donation, find your local
chapter, or get more information on how you can help your
American Red Cross.
All 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 those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or
1-800-257-7575 (Espanol). 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 secure online credit card
donations by visiting https://www.redcross.org//donate/donation-form.asp.
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