American Red Cross Asks for Patience in Financial Assistance Effort

American Red Cross
Tuesday, 13 September 2005

Red Cross Reassures Evacuees as Call Center Experiences Delays

The American Red Cross today appealed to the nearly one million victims of Hurricane Katrina for patience as they endeavor to access near-term financial assistance. The Red Cross has already provided its core services of food and shelter to hundreds of thousands displaced by the worst natural calamity in American history.

The Red Cross also reassures evacuees and victims of the Hurricane Katrina disaster that they will be given the same level of assistance as all other callers regardless of when their calls are received over the next few weeks. People are experiencing delays at the toll-free call center as more than 25,000 calls are placed each hour. Ultimately, as many as 750,000 to one million people are expected to use the hotline.

To date, nearly 80,000 families have received more than $140 million in aid through Red Cross programs. In addition to funds, 85,000 Red Cross volunteers are providing services like meals, blankets, clothing, hygiene kits and a place to sleep for hundreds of thousands of people.

The Red Cross is employing every possible resource as it labors to meet the needs of displaced people, who currently reside in the 48 continental states and Puerto Rico. The process of getting assistance to victims will take weeks rather than days.

The following information may be helpful to callers:

  • The toll-free hotline at 1-800-975-7585 is designed to assist those who have the most pressing financial needs.

  • All of the resources of the Red Cross are engaged in meeting emergency demands

  • Call volume is lowest during the overnight hours

  • Chapters are also attempting to provide assistance but may have long lines

  • The Red Cross is working hard to expand call center capabilities

The nearly 900 Red Cross chapters around the nation are doing their very best to meet the demand for financial assistance. Red Cross headquarters is giving its chapters every possible resource to handle this huge need.

The Red Cross appeals to the nation's communities to engage their network of local charitable institutions to assist these displaced victims with their needs. It will take the work of the entire nation and every community to accomplish this vital and monumental task.

American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort Facts at a Glance

The American Red Cross is responding to an unprecedented natural catastrophe and devoting every resource to this humanitarian relief effort. The American people can be confident the Red Cross will spare no effort to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivors.

  • Since Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore, the Red Cross has provided survivors nearly 2 million overnight stays in 709 shelters across 24 states and the District of Columbia.
  • On Monday night, the Red Cross housed more than 61,500 survivors in 348 shelters.
  • The American Red Cross served more than 358,500 hot meals on Monday.
  • The Red Cross has served more than 7.7 million hot meals and more than 6.6 million snacks to survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
  • To date, more than 112,000 people have received Red Cross Disaster Mental Health services.
  • More than 85,000 trained Red Cross disaster relief workers from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have responded to help their neighbors in need. During this effort, the Red Cross has trained more than 75,000 people in specialized disaster relief skills.
  • More than 182,000 people have registered on the Red Cross "Family Links Registry," which is helping reconnect loved ones separated by Hurricane Katrina. To register, go to or call 1-877-LOVED-1S.

The American Red Cross is expanding the variety of its efforts to provide financial assistance to upwards of three quarters of a million Hurricane Katrina victims who are dispersed across the nation. Assistance is provided in a variety of ways, including client assistance cards, vouchers, checks and cash.

The Red Cross is fulfilling urgent needs, turning donations into help faster than ever before. Our gold standard is for everyone touched by Katrina to be safe and comforted.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of this disaster and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting

For more information, or to contact American Red Cross, see their website at:

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