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VOL. 112 | NO. 68 | Friday, April 24, 1998

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Local Red Cross chapter provides disaster relief   Local Red Cross chapter provides disaster relief to tornado victims in Arkansas and Tennessee By DAPHNE THOMAS Special to The Daily News On April 16, residents of Manila, Ark., and Roellen, Tenn., awoke to tornadoes ripping through their communities. Some of those residents lost nearly everything they owned. These two devastating disasters were just the beginning. Seven tornadoes ripped through Arkansas and Tennessee leaving disaster and devastation in their wake. Seven died, hundreds were injured and millions of dollars of property damage was sustained by Arkansas and Tennessee communities. American Red Cross chapters in both states have been engaged in disaster relief activity since the storm claimed its first victims in Manila. One major city hit particularly hard by two tornadoes was Nashville. The Nashville chapter, also a victim of the storm, sustained power loss and minor damage. Even though this deadly storm spared residents of Memphis and Shelby County the devastation suffered by neighboring communities, the Mid-South chapter of the American Red Cross in Memphis has responded. The chapter has provided disaster relief support to chapters in Arkansas and Tennessee by providing relief workers and communication and media relations support. The day following the Nashville tornadoes, the Mid-South chapter immediately dispatched an emergency response vehicle to Nashville. The ERV was staffed with two trained volunteer mass care workers prepared to provide food service at a shelter established in Nashville by that areas Red Cross chapter. The Mid-South chapters ERV and its staff have been in Nashville for the past week and will remain there throughout this week providing disaster relief to Nashville residents hit hardest by the tornadoes. The disasters that racked the Mid-South last week have kept area chapters busy providing support and basic necessities to hundreds of families coping with homelessness, loss of life and property devastation. "Disaster services at the Mid-South chapter have been on alert since Thursday morning," said Sherry Farmer, director of disaster services for the Mid-South chapter. "We are prepared to send trained volunteers to disaster areas if need be." In addition to the mass care workers dispatched to Nashville on April 17, another disaster relief case worker was sent to Nashville to help families get the assistance they need. The American Red Cross provides disaster relief in the way of emergency food, shelter, first-aid and vouchers for victims to buy clothing. "We are here to respond immediately by meeting the basic needs of victims of disaster," said Farmer. "Last year, we responded to nearly 300 disasters in our service area." The Mid-South chapter currently serves Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties in Tennessee; DeSoto and Tunica counties in Mississippi; and Crittenden County in Arkansas. As a humanitarian organization led by volunteers, the American Red Cross also helps people to prevent and prepare for emergencies through training and education in its health, safety and youth services departments. Individuals benefit from health and safety services such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first-aid training, certified nurse assistant training and HIV/AIDS training. Mid-South youth benefit from the chapter through its baby-sitting courses, volunteerism and Red Cross clubs at local elementary schools which give youth who participate a chance to give back to the community through a variety of community service projects. An international organization, the American component of the International Red Cross was officially chartered by Congress in 1904 to provide relief to Americans whenever and wherever disaster strikes and to be a communications link between civilian families in crisis and their family members serving in armed forces across the globe. Driven by a force of more than 1 million volunteers nationally, the American Red Cross and its chapters respond to more than 60,000 disasters across the country every year. All American Red Cross disaster relief is free. Since the American Red Cross receives no tax dollars, it exists exclusively through donations of time and money. For more information on disaster relief or volunteer opportunities, call Caron Byrd at 726-1690, ext. 101. Thomas is director of public relations for the Mid-South chapter of the American Red Cross.
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 116 288 17,672
MORTGAGES 143 337 20,372
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 15 26 2,671
BUILDING PERMITS 139 488 36,434
BANKRUPTCIES 43 158 11,322
BUSINESS LICENSES 35 93 5,802
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 38 65 6,779
MARRIAGE LICENSES 18 86 4,002