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Red Cross celebrates end of hurricane season

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USA
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American Red Cross
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Written by Lesly C. Hallman , Staff Writer, RedCross.org

Wednesday, December 01, 2004 -- American Red Cross volunteers around the country are breathing a collective sigh of relief thanks to the official end of hurricane season on November 30th. This year's season was one of unprecedented storms and an equally unprecedented response from the Red Cross and other relief agencies.

The Red Cross began to mobilize its staff and volunteers on Aug. 11, in advance of the arrival of Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley, expected to land in the Gulf Coast. While Bonnie never reached her predicted strength and became a full fledged hurricane, Charley became one of the strongest storms in recent history and the only Category 4 storm of the season, packing winds of up to 138 mph when it reached land on Friday Aug. 13.

All told, the U.S. and territories dealt with seven named storms this hurricane season: T.S. Bonnie and T.S. Gaston, and Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, all originating in the Atlantic; and Super Typhoon Chaba in the Pacific, which pummeled Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

While the Red Cross continues to address the needs of hurricane victims across the U.S., some unbelievable numbers have already been amassed as a result of the response: earlier this month, the Red Cross had served more than 11 million meals, and housed more than 400,000 residents in close to 2,000 shelters. More than 35,000 Red Cross workers descended on affected areas, providing comfort and compassion to those most in need.

In the aftermath of these storms, Red Cross workers canvassed neighborhoods from Florida to Virginia in nearly 600 Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs), handing out cleanup kits containing brooms, mops, squeegees, buckets and cleaning supplies to those whose homes were damaged but livable. However, many people were not able to return home, as their home was one of the thousand completely destroyed by the storms. Affected residents also received comfort kits with basic toiletries to replace just a small bit of what was lost.

The Red Cross also received more than 332,000 calls from people looking for information on shelter locations, post-disaster assistance and recovery information. The calls continue to come in.

Most unfortunately, 117 people lost their lives as a result of these unrelenting storms.

You can help the victims of hurricanes, floods 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 our Online Donation Page.

American Red Cross: All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. The Red Cross also supplies nearly half of the nation's lifesaving blood. This, too, is made possible by generous voluntary donations. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. To donate blood, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or contact your local Red Cross to find out about upcoming blood drives. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.