Free Calls & Financial Assistance for Hurricane Katrina Survivors

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InterCall is providing free conference calling through Salvation Army aid stations to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Businesses in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi affected by Katrina can also receive assistance through InterCall's CrisisConnect service. In addition the American Red Cross began distributing debit cards to evacuees in the Houston Astrodome on Thursday.

“We have phone lines and operators standing by to help residents and relief organizations communicate, whether they need to get a few people together or more than a hundred,” said Scott Etzler, president of InterCall. “Like many of our corporate peers, we feel compelled as an organization to contribute the best we can to bring relief to the storm-torn areas of the Gulf Coast, and hope that our teams can help connect those families who are still struggling to reach each other in the wake of this disaster.”

The donation will also enable the Salvation Army to freely access InterCall's international audio conferencing services connecting relief workers and essential service groups to help bring quick assistance to those in need. www.intercal.com InterCall is one of the leading conferencing companies in the nation.

People looking for relatives affected by the disaster can submit health and welfare information requests or search for Hurricane Katrina Shelter Occupants by name through the Salvation Army's Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) post a message for missing friends or loved ones from the Salvation Army web site at katrina.salvationarmy.org/usn/www_usn.nsf The American Red Cross has also launched the Family Links Registry web site and hotline (1-877-LOVED-1S), to assist family members seeking news about loved ones.

The American Red Cross, working with leaders in the financial services industry, is putting in place a mechanism for providing financial assistance for the victims of Katrina in locations across the nation. Beginning with the distribution of debit cards to the evacuees in the Houston Astrodome, a comprehensive financial assistance plan involving use of a toll-free telephone number, call center and other means should be in place this weekend. Red Cross chapters across the country have already distributed more than $5 million in aid already. The Red Cross effort is not part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) financial effort.

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