Merrimack Valley Chapter
Merrimack Valley Chapter
177 Ward Hill Avenue   Ward Hill   MA   01835   Phone- 978-372-6871   Fax- 978-374-2233
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Yvonne Zinicola, Executive Director
978-372-6871(office), or 978-973-9190 (cell)
EMAIL: zinicolay@usa.redcross.org


AMERICAN RED CROSS URGES SAFETY FIRST AGAINST POTENTIAL FLOODING


Merrimack Valley April 1, 2005 – Heavy rains on Saturday, combined with melting snow and the already saturated ground, and could cause flooding in our area this weekend. The American Red Cross offers the following tips on how to prepare for and remain safe during a flood:

Know What to Expect
• Know your area's flood risk--if unsure, call your local Red Cross chapter, emergency management office, or planning and zoning department, and check local weather updates,
• If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
Floods Can Take Several Hours to Days to Develop
• A flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
• A flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
Flash Floods Can Take Only a Few Minutes to a Few Hours to Develop
• A flash flood WATCH means flash flooding is possible in your area.
• A flash flood WARNING means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon.
Reduce Potential Flood Damage by--
• Raising your furnace, water heater, and electric panel if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded.
• Consult with a professional for further information if this and other damage reduction measures can be taken.

AMERICAN RED CROSS – ADD ONE

Prepare a Family Disaster Plan
• Check to see if you have insurance that covers flooding. If not, find out how to get flood insurance.
• Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing--
• First aid kit and essential medications.
• Canned food and can opener.
• At least three gallons of water per person
• Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
• Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
• Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
• Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)
• Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places . . . a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.

When a Flood WATCH Is Issued . . .
• Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
• Fill your car's gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.
When a Flood WARNING Is Issued . . .
• Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.
When a Flash Flood WATCH Is Issued . . .
• Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment's notice.
When a Flash Flood WARNING Is Issued . . .
• Or if you think it has already started, evacuate immediately. You may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
• Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades . . . they are there for your safety.
• If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

The American Red Cross is where people mobilize to help their neighbors—across the street, across the country and across the world—in emergencies. Each year, in communities large and small, victims of some 70,000 disasters turn to neighbors familiar and new—the nearly 1 million volunteers and 35,000 employees of the Red Cross. Through almost 900 locally supported chapters, more than 15 million people gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their homes, communities and world. Some 4 million people give blood—the gift of life—through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The Red Cross helps thousands of U.S. service members separated from their families by military duty stay connected. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global network of 181 national societies, the Red Cross helps restore hope and dignity to the world's most vulnerable people. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.



CONTACT: Yvonne Zinicola, Executive Director
978-372-6871(office), or 978-973-9190 (cell)
EMAIL: zinicolay@usa.redcross.org

INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS NEEDS FOR TSUNAMI RELIEF PROGRAM MET, LOCAL NEEDS REMAINFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thanks to Generous CITIZENS of MERRIMACK VALLEY


WARD HILL, MASSACHUSETTS JANUARY 31, 2005 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies today announced that the $1.2 billion (1.4 billion Swiss francs) pledged worldwide in the 30 days since the tsunami was sufficient to meet the costs of the entire Red Cross tsunami relief program. Following the Federation’s lead and due to the generous financial contributions from public, foundation and corporate supporters, which now amounts to $236.2 million, the American Red Cross will no longer engage in new fundraising activities for tsunami relief after January 26. The American Red Cross believes that current contributions and pledges, when received from the American public, will be sufficient to carry out its immediate and longer-term plans to assist survivors of the deadly tsunami that roared ashore December 26, 2004.
Many donations remain in "pledge" form and, while not yet received by the Red Cross, have been incorporated into funds deemed available for the relief effort. It is important for supporters to fulfill their pledged gifts, including completing special events, corporate matching gifts, and customer and employee donation programs currently planned. All donations made to the American Red Cross International Response Fund between December 26, 2004 and January 31, 2005, as well as funds designated for the tsunami relief effort, will be used to support the international response to those impacted by this devastating tsunami.

Americans time and again trust the American Red Cross with their donations, and the Red Cross is fully committed to upholding their trust. As part of its commitment to donors, the American Red Cross notifies the public when it has raised enough funds to implement comprehensive American Red Cross relief plans for a particular disaster. The overwhelming public support of the American Red Cross has been mirrored at Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world. The American Red Cross, along with the Federation, now believes there are sufficient funds to meet the overall need. Should the American Red Cross need additional resources to help the tsunami victims, we have no doubt the generous American public will step up and meet the need.

The American Red Cross two-phased assistance plan calls for specialized relief immediately and over the long term in the following five areas: food and safe water; healthcare and disease prevention; immediate family supplies; mental health counseling; and disaster preparedness and prevention measures.

Since December 26, the American Red Cross has kept Americans informed about funds raised and how these funds are being used to provide relief. The American Red Cross will continue to keep the public informed of its relief efforts through the American Red Cross Web site www.redcross.org and stewardship reports.

Although presently the Red Cross need has been filled regarding Tsunami victims, here in the Merrimack Valley your local Red Cross continues to assist victims of disaster, the majority of these are victims of fire. Imagine you and your family standing out in the cold as you watch your house and everything in it being consumed by fire; your clothing, food, photos, everything destroyed. The Red Cross will be there to assist disaster victims in their hour of need. In the past thirty days, the Merrimack Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross has responded to 5 fires, assisting 63 people and has taught over 400 individuals in lifesaving training such as CPR, first aid and Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Please remember that the Red Cross is not a Government agency, our financial support comes from you and others like you, so please continue to support disaster victims in your community by donation to the American Red Cross of Merrimack Valley. Our office serves the Greater Lowell, Greater Lawrence and Greater Haverhill communities. You may make a donation by calling us at (978) 372-6871 or mail it to our office at 177 Ward Hill Avenue, Ward Hill, MA 10835. To make an on-line donation visit our website: www.arcmv.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Yvonne Zinicola, Executive Director
978-372-6871(office), or 978-973-9190 (cell)
EMAIL: zinicolay@usa.redcross.org

American Red Cross of Merrimack Valley - Helping victims of fires at home and of Tsunamis abroad.


January 4, 2004 – Each day for the past week, we have heard of the devastation in South Asia. The American public had generously pledged $43.7 million to the American Red Cross International Response Fund. Contributions to the American Red Cross will allow the organization to provide immediate relief and long term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to those in need. Our thoughts are with the families who lost so much in this tragedy.

This past weekend 52 people in the Merrimack Valley faced a similar type of devastation and lost everything they had too. The American Red Cross team of volunteers and staff responded to two disasters on Sunday, January 3rd. The first fire of 3 AM was in Lowell, affecting 27 people. We also responded to a fire in Lawrence rendering 25 people homeless.

At home in the Merrimack Valley or in South Asia, the American Red Cross is helping people to meet their basic immediate needs of food, clothing, shelter, health and mental health services.

“What happened in South Asia and the surrounding areas is disaster on a huge scale,” said Yvonne Zinicola, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Merrimack Valley, “However, we are no stranger to disasters here in the Merrimack Valley.”

The Merrimack Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross responds to over 200 disasters a year serving approximately 500 people a year who are victims of primarily fire and floods.

Zinicola has served over ten years with the American Red Cross both at home and abroad. She was called to serve in Turkey in 2000 during their 7.2 earthquake and has served with the Red Cross in the war zones of Rwanda and Tajikistan. She served in the U.S. Virgin Islands where she says people were educated about Tsunamis only after one hit the island several hundred years ago. In St. Thomas people were so amazed by the amount of lobster and fish they could gather when the wave receded so far that they all went into the water to get the fish. Then the wave (the Tsunami) came back.

Prior to a Tsunami, the ocean usually recedes significantly so much so that you could not mistake it for low tide. If that happens, you know that you need to get to high ground immediately. Not everyone knows this. “Only through educating communities on how to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters, can we avoid a significant loss of life.”

Here at home, the American Red Cross is looking for a sponsor for their community disaster education program which teaches schoolchildren how to combat our most common disaster - fire. The program will kick off in January 2005 and already has 21 presentations scheduled. “We teach families how to be safe and if they find themselves in disaster then how to respond. In the case of fire, having a family evacuation plan is vital,” said Zinicola. “The family should have a meeting place outside of the home so they all will go to that point and a headcount can quickly be taken. A lot of the Valley’s homes are two and three stories. If the fire is in the stairwell, how will you get out? Families also have to make it a priority to have an operational smoke/fire alarm in their home.”

The American Red Cross is a non-governmental not-for-profit agency which exists due to the generosity of American people. You can make a difference! Whether you’d like to support the relief and education to disaster victims at home or abroad, here’s how you can help:

If you’d like to support the Disaster Relief Efforts of the American Red Cross in the Merrimack Valley, please make checks payable to “American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund” and mail to 177 Ward Hill Avenue, Ward Hill, MA 01835. Or you can make an online donation at www.arcmv.org. If you have questions we may be reached at (978) 372-6871.

If you’d like to give to the victims of the Tsunami/Earthquake then please make checks payable to American Red Cross International Response Fund – you may mail checks to our local chapter who will forward them to our Washington, D.C. Headquarters at P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. To make a donation by phone, call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or for secure online donations visit www.redcross.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Yvonne Zinicola, Executive Director
978-372-6871(office), or 978-973-9190 (cell)
EMAIL: zinicolay@usa.redcross.org

AMERICAN RED CROSS RESPONDING TO SOUTHERN ASIA DISASTER
Donations Needed To Help With Relief Effort


WARD HILL, MA, DECEMBER 30, 2004 – The American Red Cross is responding to the large scale disaster in southern Asia after the earthquake off the west coast of Indonesia struck on December 26th and triggered a number of tsunami waves that caused massive flooding and severe damage in several countries.

Relief supplies, such as plastic sheeting, family size tents and hygiene kits, are ready for shipment to be distributed to people in the affected areas. These supplies are in a specifically designated area near the region so they can be mobilized quickly. It is estimated that nearly one million people living in the coastal areas have been affected.

With disasters of this magnitude, we understand the concern people have for their loved ones in the affected area. Information about U.S. Citizens living or traveling in the southern Asia region may be obtained by calling the U.S. Department of State at 1-888-407-4747. The American Red Cross urges you to continue to try contacting your loved ones through normal means of communication. Keep in contact with relatives who may live close to, but outside the affected area.

There is a tremendous outpouring of support from the public for victims of this disaster. The best way to help those affected is to make a contribution to a disaster relief organization like the American Red Cross. Your donation will allow the Red Cross to purchase relief items directly in the region, eliminating the costs of shipping and transport from the United States. Please support the International Response Fund at the American Red Cross by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW or visiting us at www.redcross.org.

You can help those affected by this crisis and countless others around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish).Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter at; American Red Cross of Merrimack Valley, 177 Ward Hill Avenue, Ward Hill, MA 01835. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.arcmv.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Yvonne Zinicola, Executive Director
978-372-6871(office), or 978-973-9190 (cell)
EMAIL: zinicolay@usa.redcross.org

Powerful earthquake, tsunamis strike South Asia, leaving thousands dead, injured and missing


Monday December 27, 2004— The largest earthquake to strike the globe since 1964 has caused devastating tsunami waves that have killed thousands in south Asia. The 8.9-magnitude quake hit December 26 off the coast of Indonesia, triggering these extremely large waves that have brought massive flooding, damage and loss of life in the region.

Waves as high as 20 feet have crashed into the coastal areas near the Bay of Benegal. Among the worst affected countries are Sri Lanka and India, as well as Indonesia, Maldives and Thailand. Reports are that thousands of people are missing, and it is possible that the number of dead may tragically rise in the coming days.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in south Asia have begun to mobilize staff and volunteers to affected areas to assist with the immediate needs. Emergency assessment and first-aid teams have already reached some of the affected areas.

“The situation is fluid, with so many people affected in so many areas of southeast Asia, and it is likely that relief teams there may need many different types of assistance in the coming days,” said Matthew Parry of the International Disaster Response Unit at the American Red Cross.
The American Red Cross continues to maintain contact with its partners on the ground and is prepared to support operations with relief supplies, financial assistance or personnel as requested by our sister International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies there.

You can help those affected by this crisis and countless others around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance, and other support to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter (American Red Cross of Merrimack Valley, 177 Ward Hill Avenue, Ward Hill, MA 01835) or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

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