Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Black Hills Red Cross Press Release

Black Hills Area Chapter Contact Name: Betsy Mergenthal
1221 North Maple Office: 605-342-4010
Rapid City, S.D. 57701 Cell: 605-391-6985
www.blackhillsredcross.org mergenthalarc@rushmore.com

Red Cross Winter Weather Response

January 26, 2010….While the nation sees many images of the Red Cross here on a National and International front, locally the American Red Cross is responding to its own disaster on a regional level. First, power outages due to severe winter weather plagued North-Central South Dakota starting on January 22. Power has finally been restored to most of the main hubs in the region, but water has not returned to the majority of Dewey and Ziebach Counties and well as the community of Faith in Meade County.

Ziebach ranks as the 4th lowest income per capita county in the nation while Dewey County sits in the 11th spot. This in combination of the rough, remote location leaves many people desperate in the face of harsh winter weather.

The Black Hills Area Chapter of the Red Cross works year-round to prepare for these situations and has conducted training for many of the communities operating shelters. In addition we have pre-placed supplies which include cots, blankets, and ready-to-eat meals. Yesterday, our Emergency Response Vehicle deployed loaded with additional supplies including additional cots, blankets, MRES and water.

Today, Community Food Banks of South Dakota graciously donated space on one of their trucks for the American Red Cross to deliver supplies to the community of Takini for shelter operations.

The American Red Cross is traveling the region and assessing needs while working with state, local and regional officials.

In Rapid City, the American Red Cross along with partner agencies is assisting 41 dialysis patients who were transported from the Cheyenne River Reservation late Friday night to continue care. We are working to meet the needs which include clothing, food, personal hygiene items and medical equipment for people with disabilities.

This and many other disasters have faced the local Red Cross recently and we are currently looking to our friends and neighbors to support our relief efforts during these times. Whether it is a large scale disaster like the one we are responding to today or the one of 77 home fires we answered the call to last year. Our local Red Cross needs your support. South Dakota has a reputation of neighbors helping neighbors and that is what why we are asking for your financial support today.

The Black Hills Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, a nonprofit organization, continues to provide services to the Black Hills and throughout Western South Dakota in times of need. We do not receive federal monies for operations. Our mission is to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Because of donors and volunteers, we are able to provide food, clothing, shelter, health and mental health services to clients and help them get through the emergency.

The Black Hills Chapter of the American Red Cross is a United Way Member Agency.