American Red Cross Update On Midwest Tornados

From the LA American Red Cross:

Our thoughts are with all those impacted by this weekend’s devastating tornadoes and severe weather. The Red Cross is helping people in Arkansas and several other states by providing shelter, food, relief supplies, health and mental health services to those affected.

  • More than 200 people spent Sunday night in shelters in Arkansas that were opened or supported by Red Cross workers. Red Cross emergency vehicles will be distributing food throughout the affected areas.
  • If someone needs to find a shelter, they can contact their local Red Cross chapter or access the Red Cross shelter map which is updated every 30 minutes with shelter locations by address, city, state and/or zip code.
  • This has been a deadly and devastating storm and Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath.
  • The Red Cross also has shelters open in Oklahoma and is responding in northern Louisiana where flooding occurred after yesterday’s storms. Shelter and services also are being provided in North Carolina, which was hit Fridaynight by tornadoes.
  • The Red Cross will be on the ground in these affected areas for weeks to help people get back on their feet.

Additional severe weather is possible in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee on Monday (today). Red Cross chapters are preparing to respond if needed and people in the path of the storm should also get prepared by downloading the Red Cross tornado app.

  • People can use the app’s “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know they are okay and find the location of Red Cross shelters.
  • The app also features a high-pitched siren and warning alert that signals when a tornado warning has been issued, as well as an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or been cancelled.
  • The Red Cross sent out 2.1 million severe weather notifications over the weekend through its tornado app for tornado and thunderstorm watches and warnings.
  • Red Cross chapters in areas where severe weather is predicted today are preparing to respond if needed by readying shelters, supplies and volunteers.

People in Arkansas are dealing with the aftermath of tornadoes and severe weather is indicated for residents of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee today. There are safety steps they should follow:

  • After a tornado, people should return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and sturdy shoes.
  • Avoid fallen power lines or broken gas lines – immediately report them to the utility companies.
  • If someone smells gas or hears a hissing noise, they should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department
  • Use flashlights, not candles when examining buildings.
  • If someone is in the path of these storms they should listen to local news or a NOAA weather radio to stay informed about any severe weather watches and warnings in their area.
  • Know the community’s warning system.
  • Pick a place where family members can gather – the basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
  • Keep animals under control.
  • In a high-rise building, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

The Red Cross provided several units of type O negative blood to two hospitals in Arkansas before the storm and supplied 40 units of plasma this morning to help treat those who were injured. The hospitals say they have a sufficient blood supply to handle the situation at this point. The Red Cross stands ready to assist with any additional blood needs.

Federal Government Wants African Centre for Disease Control, Prevention in Nigeria

Submitted by BEMA from Daily Times

The Federal Government has requested that the proposed African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDCP)’ be set up in Nigeria, Minister of Health, Dr Onybuchi Chukwu, said.

Chukwu said  in Luanda that the request was made to the Conference of African Union Ministers of Health and World Health Organisation.

Chukwu cited the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as a yardstick for the request, saying Nigeria was the first in Africa to establish such a centre.

He said that the Nigeria centre had been doing well in conducting researches on disease outbreak, prevention and other public health issues.

“ Nigeria, so far, has the best disease surveillance system according to WHO, on the continent of Africa.

“Actually, Nigeria was the first to offer to host the African Centre for Disease Control followed by Ethiopia and since then we have been working toward it.

“It was inconclusive, though Ethiopia brought it up, the decision was that we should still do more consultation and I believe what we are saying here is part of that consultation,’’ he said.

Chukwu said many countries outside Africa, including the U.S., supported the ACDCP initiative.

“The idea is to have a strengthened centre for disease control so that when we have an outbreak it will take the lead in investigation and treatment,’’ he said.

Chukwu recalled that Nigeria was the first country to host its neighbours in 2012 to discuss disease control.

He said WHO recognised that meeting as the first of its kind in the world that a country initiated.

“What we need is what we always say since 2010 when we first called that meeting on cross border infection control.

“Infections do not care for passport or visa, diseases just move across borders, not something a single country can curtail.

“You will see what has happened recently, an outbreak started in Guinea before you knew it, it spread to three other countries,’’ he said.

Chukwu commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his support for the establishment of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

On the establishment of African Medicine Agency, Chukwu said Nigeria was still in the lead as no other country in the continent had been able to establish a similar body to National Agency for Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

He said NCDC, NAFDAC and FRSN were three institutions in Nigeria that had not been replicated in other countries.

“So, Nigeria is solidly behind this establishment of a common body that can regulate drugs within Africa, ‘’he said.

Chukwu lauded ministers of health in Africa for doing much regarding the health sector, including the establishment of African Public Health Fund.

Red Cross Statement on Ft. Hood Mass Shooting

from RedCross.org

Following yesterday’s tragic event at Ft. Hood, Texas, the American Red Cross continues to extend our thoughts and prayers to the members of the military community stationed there. Our Service to the Armed Forces staff stationed at Ft. Hood have all been accounted for and are safe. They continue to provide the support and services military families have come to expect from the Red Cross.

The Red Cross closed the shelter at the Killeen Community Center following the “All Clear” signal at Ft. Hood. The military members and their families who took advantage of the shelter were provided food and drink.

Shortly after the shooting, the Red Cross provided nearly 130 units of blood and platelets to a local hospital for emergency treatment. Thanks to the generosity of volunteer blood donors, there is currently enough blood on the shelves to meet patient needs. We appreciate that many donors will want to give blood or platelets in light of this incident. Eligible blood donors are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting redcrossblood.org.

The Red Cross stands at the ready to assist with any additional requests of mental health support, blood and blood products as needed.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visitredcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.