Puerto Rico (The United States of America) + 1 more

Hurricane Omar strengthens to Category 3 storm

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Red Cross helping residents of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

The American Red Cross of the Virgin Islands and the Puerto Rico Chapter are responding as Hurricane Omar moves through the Caribbean toward the central Atlantic Ocean. Overnight the storm strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane with winds up to 125 mph.

More than 130 residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands took refuge in Red Cross shelters overnight. The Puerto Rico Chapter is responding to assist residents there. Omar could bring 20 inches of rain to Puerto Rico and produce flash floods and mudslides. Residents are urged to get ready and take any evacuation orders seriously.

Red Cross reports residents should listen to local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information. Those who could be affected by this storm should pack a bag and include medications and dentures, a flashlight and batteries, radio, first aid kit, bottled water, clothing and bedding. Gather important papers. Don't forget special items for children and infants such as diapers, formula and toys, along with items needed for family members who are elderly or disabled.

Hurricane Omar comes on the heels of a busy season for Red Cross disaster response, including the recent hurricanes in Florida and along the Gulf Coast, widespread tornadoes, and the worst flooding in the Midwest in 15 years. In the past 12 months, the cost of providing disaster relief has rapidly outpaced contributions to the Red Cross, depleting our Disaster Relief Fund. As a result, the Red Cross is actively seeking donations for its Campaign for Disaster Relief to raise $100 million for the Disaster Relief Fund.

About the American Red Cross:

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 thousands of disasters across the country each yea 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 victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) 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 www.redcross.org

American Red Cross
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. The Red Cross also supplies nearly half of the nation's lifesaving blood. This, too, is made possible by generous voluntary donations. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. To donate blood, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or contact your local Red Cross to find out about upcoming blood drives. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.