Release: Red Cross Advises Evacuees to Stay Put Until Conditions Are Safe 09.03.2008

Red Cross Advises Evacuees to Stay Put

Until Conditions Are Safe

PENSACOLA, FL, September 2, 2008 — Although what was once Hurricane Gustav has weakened to a tropical depression, the American Red Cross urges all evacuees to stay away from affected areas until authorities say it is safe to return.

“We know people are eager to go home, especially if they think the danger has passed,” said Joe Becker, Senior Vice President of Disaster Services. “However, we ask that people be patient, since conditions are still unsafe in many places.” If authorities have not given the all-clear for residents to return, they could be denied entry into their community. It is still hazardous to return to many areas, as Gustav has caused flooding and massive power outages, as well as downed power lines and trees. Tornadoes are also possible in the wake of the storm.

Before attempting to return home to the affected states, evacuees are advised to contact these agencies for more information:

  • Louisiana Office of Homeland Security – http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov or 1-866-288-2484
  • Mississippi Emergency Management Agency – 1-866-519-MEMA

The Red Cross is not providing financial assistance to evacuees, but is instead focused solely on feeding, sheltering, and providing emotional support. The Red Cross will meet emergency needs with food, shelters, distribution of supplies, and will provide support through our mental health and health services workers. If evacuees need any of the above help, they are asked to come to the shelter at East Brent Baptist Church, 4801 N. Davis Highway, Pensacola.

The Red Cross has 343 shelters open in 10 states, housing a population of nearly 60,000 people. Its many workers are providing evacuees with food, shelter and emotional support, and are prepared to do so until it is safe for people to return home. The Red Cross is also expanding its efforts in storm-hit areas in order to provide services to returning residents. Gustav has cost the Red Cross $20 million to date.

The Red Cross is now readying itself as a busy Atlantic Ocean brings tropical storms Hanna, Ike and Josephine.


Local Resource

Diane Hawkins, (850) 418-0543

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