American Red Cross Launches Largest Mobilization Effort in History for Hurricane Katrina

The American Red Cross is launching the largest mobilization of resources in its history for a single natural disaster. Hurricane Katrina, a deadly Category 4 storm, is barreling ashore this morning along the Gulf Coast and has the potential to leave widespread devastation in its wake. The Southern Maryland Chapter is looking for a few good people to become DSHR qualified (Disaster Services Human Resources) qualified.

"Hurricane Katrina is wreaking havoc for southeast Florida and the Gulf coast states," said Jeremy Tyler, Disaster Specialist for the Southern Maryland Chapter American Red Cross. "The Red Cross will meet the challenge by doing what we do best—coming together to respond with tireless compassion to take care of our neighbors."

The Red Cross is mobilizing on all fronts to bring relief to storm victims. More than two hundred Red Cross shelters are housing thousands of residents who fled Katrina’s wrath. All available resources from across the country, including thousands of staff and volunteers are being moved to safe areas, so additional relief efforts can begin immediately after the storm passes. More than 200 emergency response vehicles (ERVs) and countless other Red Cross resources are en route or on the scene to provide hot meals, snacks, bottled water and distribute other much-needed relief supplies. In coordination with the Southern Baptists, preparations have been made to provide more than 500,000 hot meals to storm-weary residents each day.

"We are prepared at every level for what will likely be a catastrophic disaster," said Mike Zabko, Director of the Southern Maryland Chapter American Red Cross. "When Mother Nature is at her worst, the American Red Cross is at its best.” “What the public needs to know in Southern Maryland is that we can not send Spontaneous Volunteers out with out some pre training and specific skills,” He continued.

Due to the growth and magnitude of this storm we are setting up special disaster training classes and screenings so that we can meet the needs of these volunteers and the huge relief effort the National American Red Cross is undertaking.

Hurricane Katrina strengthened into one of the fiercest storms ever seen in the U.S. Not only has Katrina intensified, but it has also grown substantially in size—it is now about 460 miles wide—the distance from New Orleans to Atlanta. Destruction from this storm will not be limited to coastal areas. After making landfall Hurricane Katrina will progress inland Monday leaving behind a trail of flooding rains and damaging winds, spreading across the country and eventually into the Northeast. The Red Cross will continue to provide a safe haven and disaster assistance to victims along its path.

Please contact any of the chapter offices to get scheduled for the training, screening and possibly become part of the Southern Maryland Chapter DSHR system.

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