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SANFORD, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — The American Red Cross continues to help people affected by the recent tornadoes. People like Cindy Busick, whose home and belongings were destroyed by the tornado. The EF4 tornado lifted her house and splintered it across a rural neighborhood in Sanford, NC. Cindy was amazed to still be alive.

“I flew a football field length in a bath tub,” said Cindy, who had clutched to her little dog in the tub as the tornado tore through her home. “People have found documents with our names on it 70 miles away. When I landed, I thought I was in a different town. I was in the air for what seemed like forever and with my stuff flying 70 miles away, I would have imagined I’d be with them,” she said.

After the tornado, Cindy only had one pair of jogging pants, a t-shirt, one undergarment, and a pair of slippers. She met with American Red Cross caseworkers who were able to provide emergency assistance for food and clothing. “Look at me… I’ve got shoes on!” she said. With the help of the Red Cross, her friends and neighbors and other local organizations, Cindy is optimistic about her recovery from the storm.

An estimated 6,600 families in North Carolina were affected by the 28 tornadoes that ripped through the area that Saturday afternoon, April 16. The Red Cross rushed to respond immediately after the storm, setting up shelters and providing first aid to victims.

“Red Cross disaster teams are making sure people have a safe place to stay and food to eat,” said Victoria Kling, emergency services director for the Cape Fear Chapter. “We are working in the communities across North Carolina to help people affected by the tornadoes.”

The American Red Cross currently has more than 30 emergency response vehicles in action distributing meals, water, snacks and clean-up items like shovels, rakes, work gloves and trash bags throughout the affected neighborhoods. Volunteers also continue to work tirelessly to help families find long-term shelter, either permanent or temporary while they are rebuilding and recovering. Over the past few days, client casework has begun the process of meeting individually with affected residents to provide Red Cross assistance and help them plan for their recovery.

To put the tornado damage in perspective, last year 3,500 families lost their homes to fire in North Carolina alone. The Red Cross spent nearly $1.9 million for food, shelter and clothing for the victims of those house fires. As shocking as that may be, the number of family homes destroyed or uninhabitable in one night by the tornadoes was 1,800 – over half of that whole year of house fires. The cost of feeding, sheltering and recovery for tornado victims will eclipse the fires’ cost many times over.

The Red Cross is not a government agency and it depends on contributions from the public to provide the services it does. Those who want to help the people affected by these disasters, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Their gift will enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other disaster assistance. To make a donation, people can visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to the Cape Fear Chapter, 1102 South 16th St., Wilmington, NC 28401 or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

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