Victims Of Hurricane Katrina Need Your Help Now

by Jay Cochran
August 30, 2005

The American Red Cross has mobilized thousands of volunteers to respond in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which completely devastated parts of Louisiana and left at least 55 people dead.

The Red Cross plans to send close to 2,000 volunteers in the area to begin the initial response in the next few days.

Red Cross emergency response vehicles (ERVs) will visit damaged neighborhoods like this one in Florida after Hurricane Charley last year. (Photo: Bonnie Gillespie).

“Volunteers are truly the lifeblood of the American Red Cross, and we are calling on them now by the thousands to help support relief efforts in Louisiana and other states after Katrina,” said Pat McCrummen, American Red Cross disaster spokesperson. “We are looking at a long term, very significant response to this storm.”

The Red Cross is mobilizing every available resource from across the country including thousands of staff and volunteers to respond to this storm. Red Cross volunteers and donors are neighbors helping neighbors.

Volunteers are already on the ground staffing shelters for tens of thousands of people in five states—Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.

The Red Cross is launching the largest mobilization of resources for a single natural domestic disaster, in part because the extent of the damage is so widespread over a large geographical area. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin including sending nearly 1,900 staff and volunteers into the field in the next few days, and sending more than 250 Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) out to provide food and water to affected residents.

The best way to help is by making an online contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund at

If you are interested in volunteering for the American Red Cross, the place to start is your local chapter Red Cross. There you can learn about the training courses necessary to become a disaster volunteer. For more information, visit your local Red Cross chapter online.

Trained disaster volunteers often start by volunteering on local Red Cross Disaster Action Teams, which respond to disasters 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters each year, the vast majority of which are house and apartment fires. Disaster volunteers who gain local experience also are eligible to serve as part of the Red Cross Disaster Services Human Resources System to be deployed to disasters around the country.

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 this disaster and thousands of other 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 (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


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