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Red Cross responds to tornado damage in affected Missouri areas

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

After devastating tornados tore through six states including Missouri, The American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas coordinated with local and state emergency management to sent out crews to assist communities affected by the devastating tornadoes.

Responders were sent to the Greater St. Louis area including St. Charles County where homes were destroyed in Defiance, Missouri. Responders also provided assistance in Wright and Stone counties and in Southern Missouri in the Bootheel and Branson areas.

Sharon Watson, Communications Director for American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas, said responders were sent out Saturday morning to the affected areas to assess the damage and destroyed homes.

"We meet with the families, make note of the addresses that have been impacted, and we also work closely with the local emergency management," Watson said.

Watson said the Red Cross's primary focus is to get the affected families the immediate assistance and resources they need.

Red Cross crews are continuing to respond to individual families and homes that were affected or destroyed by the storms, and provide immediate assistance such as a place to stay, food and clothing, financial assistance, mental health and spiritual care, and work to assist the local emergency responding agencies with rescue and recovery efforts.

"That includes financial help to make sure they have a place to stay such as a hotel as well as food and clothing and replacing some of those essentials," Watson said.

Watson said once the damage assessment is done, Red Cross provides clean up equipment and emergency supplies such as gloves and tarps to people and families in need.

The Red Cross will continue to offer support and work with affected individuals for the next few weeks and help people get in contact with the resources they need either through the Red Cross or other agencies.

Watson, who visited Defiance Missouri on Sunday, said the damage is tragic.

"When you come into town, you notice that there are trees that are snapped and unfortunately as you get right into the town there are homes that are completely leveled and more homes completely gone," Watson said.

She said she saw many neighbors and volunteers working together to clean up the storm damage and debris in Defiance.

Watson said the best way for people to help is to provide a financial donation to help the Red Cross provide the disaster response. To donate call 1-800-RED-CROSS or to donate online visit www.redcross.org.

To volunteer, visit redcross.org/volunteer.

Watson said there is an increase in need for blood donations when tornadoes happen. There is an emergency shortage of blood, Watson said blood donations are desperately needed.

To donate blood, visit redcrossblood.org.

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Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.

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Chanel Porter

Chanel joined ABC 17 News in January 2021 after graduating from Penn State University. She enjoys traveling and a daily iced coffee.

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