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Local Red Cross volunteers head to Missouri

Just hours after a series of devastating tornadoes swept through the Midwest last night, the American Red Cross opened shelters in Missouri and Minnesota to help those whose homes were damaged or destroyed. The American Red Cross opened a shelter in hard-hit Joplin, Missouri, shortly after the tornado struck on Sunday. That shelter, located at Missouri Southern State University, had approximately 110 people on Sunday night and can hold up to 1,000 people. The Red Cross is working with local officials in Joplin to arrange transportation to help get people to shelters and if necessary, identify additional shelter locations.The Red Cross also opened a shelter in Minneapolis, where 200 people spent the night following the tornadoes there.Locally, Laszlo Boros, of Rochester, is deploying to Joplin to assist with recovery efforts. He will be functioning as a Health Services Associate. Boros leaves tomorrow, May 24 at 6:30 a.m. via Delta Airlines. He will be available for interview at the Greater Rochester International Airport 60 minutes prior to departure time.Currently, hundreds of relief supplies are being moved from Red Cross warehouses to Joplin and other affected areas. These supplies include comfort kits, tarps, coolers, rakes and other cleanup supplies. The Red Cross is also sending in additional staff, concentrating particularly on trained health and mental health workers.Red Cross emergency response vehicles are already responding in Missouri, helping to transport supplies to the shelter. More vehicles are headed to the area today. In addition, a Red Cross emergency communications vehicle is being sent in due to damage sustained on area infrastructure.The Red Cross encourages people to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website to let loved ones know they are safe by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). From a smart phone, visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell and click on the “List Yourself as Safe and Well” or “Search for Friends and Family” link.People in the affected areas can list themselves as “safe and well” on the Safe and Well site. Friends and family outside the disaster area can then search for messages from their loved ones by using a pre-disaster phone number or complete address. Safe and Well also enables disaster survivors to update their Facebook and Twitter status through the website.

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