Red Cross continues with North Mississippi tornado recovery effo - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Red Cross continues with North Mississippi tornado recovery efforts

Red Cross officials say between 135-140 homes were damaged or destroyed. (Photo source: Red Cross MS Region Twitter) Red Cross officials say between 135-140 homes were damaged or destroyed. (Photo source: Red Cross MS Region Twitter)
NORTH MISSISSIPPI, MS (WLOX) -

Following a series of at least 14 tornadoes that devastated rural counties in North Mississippi days before Christmas, the American Red Cross continues to assist with recovery efforts. 

Officials say the storm caused seven fatalities, injured between 40 - 50 people, and damaged or destroyed 135-150 homes. Eighteen staff members and volunteers from the Southeast Mississippi Red Cross chapter traveled to the area, and three SEM staff members are remotely assisting.

The Eddie Smith Multi-Purpose Building in Holly Springs and the Clarksdale Civic Auditorium have been opened as shelters and resource centers to area residents. A third shelter is on standby-by in the event additional bad weather.

Officials estimate that a total of 16 tornadoes impacted Marshall, Benton, Tippah, Prentiss, Coahoma, Panola and Lafayette counties. Red Cross volunteers continue to travel throughout the area in Emergency Response Vehicles 'assessing damage, checking on families, delivering food and water, bulk supplies like comfort kits and cleanup kits, and determining other needs.'

More than 100 families experienced a total loss, and thanks to an outpouring of support, items such as clothing and toys have been donated to families in need. The United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots visited the two shelters on Christmas day to deliver toys to children. 

As of Friday morning, 75 percent of the affected area had been searched, and officials expect to reach the remaining 25 percent during the weekend. 

To make monetary donations to the Red cross relief effort, call 1-800-REDCROSS, visit www.redcross.org or text "Redcross" to 90999 to send a $10 donation. Donations may also be mailed to American Red Cross, 612 E. Pass Road, Gulfport MS  39507.

The Red Cross noted, "While the Red Cross does not typically collect merchandise, we are forwarding gift items to partners like the Salvation Army and others to distribute in the area. Our focus is on emergency assistance and basic needs: food, shelter, medical and mental health, bulk supplies to assist in cleanup, and long-term assistance."

The Red Cross is also encouraging victims to let friends and family know they are safe by registering on the Safe and Well website. Victims can also use the "I'm Safe" feature on the Red Cross app to alert others that they are safe. To download, text "GETNADO" to 90999.

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