2013 Year End: Behind the Numbers: Mobilizing Responses for Big Disasters

info graph 2013

The Red Cross disaster responses across the country in 2013 included:

  • 16,700 workers—many of them volunteers—providing care, comfort and support to those in need.
  • 89,000 contacts by specially trained workers with disaster victims who needed mental health support or health services, which is more people than the amount of travelers who pass through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on an average day.
  • 1.8 million meals and snacks, the equivalent of feeding the entire population of Philadelphia lunch in a day.
  • 29,000 overnight stays in shelters for people forced from their homes by disasters, enough to fill the largest hotel in New York City for more than two weeks.
  • 1 million relief items distributed, including more than 33,700 toothbrushes.
  • $74 million to more than 60 nonprofit partners to help people and communities recover from Superstorm Sandy.

Flooding

In April, flooding struck 10,000 homes in 10 counties in Illinois. More than a thousand Red Cross volunteers provided shelter and food to displaced families and delivered relief supplies to those returning to waterlogged homes. In September, almost a half-year’s worth of rain fell in just three days across several counties in and around Boulder, Colo. Red Crossers responded and served more than 204,000 meals and snacks, handed out more than 249,000 relief items and provided about 15,000 health and mental health contacts. The Red Cross also provided a total of 3,800 shelter stays for people forced from their homes by the flooding.

Tornadoes and Severe Storms

The largest and most deadly tornado outbreak in 2013 came in Oklahoma in May, when a series of tornadoes ripped through the state, and Red Cross workers were there to comfort the survivors, including the community of Moore, Okla., where two elementary schools were struck by a deadly EF-4 tornado. More than six months later, the Red Cross continues to help residents through long-term recovery centers and other community programs.

In addition, Mississippi was hit particularly hard by severe spring storms for the third year in a row, including a tornado that severely damaged the Red Cross building in Hattiesburg in February. Again in April, the Red Cross was there, opening shelters, providing food and water, and helping survivors recover. In November, dozens of tornadoes cut a path of destruction through the Midwest, damaging more than 1,000 homes and leaving hundreds of thousands without power during a cold snap.

Wildfires

When wildfires threatened communities, the Red Cross offered evacuees a safe place to stay and supported first responders. In total, the Red Cross mobilized more than 2,000 workers to support 10 large wildfire responses in eight states during 2013, such as Colorado, Arizona, California and New Mexico.

Home Fires

It’s not just the high-profile disasters that left thousands of people in need this year. The Red Cross also responded to more than 52,000 home fires across America, helping 226,000 people get back on their feet. For those who have suffered a home fire, the event can be just as devastating as the high profile disasters that get a large amount of national attention. Regardless of the size of the event, the Red Cross responds in the same way—with shelter, food and emotional support.

International Disasters

In 2013, the American Red Cross assisted an estimated 1.3 million people affected by disasters in 24 countries outside of the U.S. These included storms and floods in the Philippines, Argentina, Bangladesh and Nigeria. Red Cross workers continue to respond to the ongoing humanitarian need created by the civil unrest in Syria, as well as needs caused by conflicts in other areas around the world. The Red Cross responded to food insecurity issues in Malawi and Zimbabwe and continued our earthquake recovery work in Haiti that has been ongoing since 2010. Additionally, the Red Cross continued its vital work in reconnecting families separated by conflict and disaster, reconnecting 886 families this year alone.

For more on this year’s disasters, view the end-of-year infographic and video.

The work of the American Red Cross is made possible by donations. Donations can be made by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions can also be sent by mail to a local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross via P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About our Holiday Partners:

During this holiday season, the American Red Cross is grateful for the support of our corporate partners that generously contribute to our Holiday Giving Campaign. They include: Circle K and its customers in the West and Florida divisions, Community Safety Foundation, funded by CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, Mazda and its Dealers nationwide and University of Phoenix. Thanks to the generosity of these and other sponsors, the Red Cross is able to carry out its mission of helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies everyday here and around the world. Each holiday season the Red Cross gives everyone the chance to support our work by giving blood, signing a card for military heroes or buying a gift through our holiday catalog. To support the Red Cross this Holiday Season, visit redcross.org/holiday.

 

How You Can Start Volunteering By Using the Team Red Cross App

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The American Red Cross recently launched the Team Red Cross App, which allows people to sign up to help, get an overview on basic tasks and receive notifications about Red Cross disaster volunteer opportunities in their community. Often when a disaster strikes, people in the community want to help but may not know how. The Team Red Cross App puts the power to help in people’s hands.

First, people create an account. Then they learn about different jobs, such as working in a warehouse, handing out supplies or assisting with feeding. When the Red Cross has a need for volunteers, users will receive a notification based on their location. People can instantly accept or decline the volunteer opportunity.

Through lists of simple steps, short videos and quizzes, you will receive a quick orientation—right on your phone—before you show up for a Red Cross volunteer job.

accept missionThe app is free and designed for iPhone and Android smart phones and tablets. Additional features include:

  • Ability for people to share notifications for volunteers with their social network.
  • Earn digital “badges” by completing a job test, accepting a job, sharing the app, recruiting volunteers, etc. The “badges” can then be shared with their social network.
  • Allows people to donate money to the Red Cross and sign up to donate blood.
  • Offers emergency response information that people can share with their friends at the touch of a button.

The Team Red Cross App is the seventh in a series of highly successful Red Cross apps, which are now on more than 3 million mobile devices across the country. More than 400,000 people downloaded the Hurricane App during Superstorm Sandy. Right before and during Sandy, users spent the most time reading the preparedness information, tracking the storm, and reading and then sharing NOAA alerts through social media.

You don’t have to be an experienced volunteer to download the app. Even if you are new, there are job overviews, short videos and quizzes you can use to get a better understanding of what Team Red Cross does. Team Red Cross is looking for people with different backgrounds, talent, and skill levels. The Team Red Cross App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

Wisconsin Disaster Training Conference To Begin Largest Registration Ever Includes Five States Represented

American Red Cross chapters serving all of Wisconsin, plus the Michigan border communities are just days away from the Wisconsin Disaster Training Conference to be held at the Gruenhagen Conference Center on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Campus from October 18-21, 2012.

More than 200 have registered for entry-level to high-level training with courses taught-by, and open-to, community partners as well as newcomers and long-time Red Cross responders. 

Specific training tracks are scheduled so a person can grow within their chosen line of service. Training tracks include: health services, mental health, sheltering, operations management, feeding and disaster communications. Therefore, a person with professional skills, such as a licensed mental health professional, can learn the Red Cross guidance to make their disaster deployment the most beneficial for the people we serve. In other capacities, we are looking for volunteers with a strong will to help others, are compassionate and are ready for training.

All courses will have a strong emphasis on collaborative efforts before, during and after disasters. For instance, fostering working relationships with other first responders, community leaders and mutual aid assets are vital to a successful response. While we have the trained team to establish a shelter, we need the location, which is where our community partners and advanced planning comes into play.

All courses are free to disaster responders, just like the services we provide during times of need. In fact, the Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters a year – more than 1,100 in Wisconsin last year. Course participants will be asked to respond to local disasters first and then as skills and availability rise, they maybe deployed to larger or national assignments. For example, during Hurricane Isaac, several Emergency Response Vehicles from Wisconsin were driven to the Gulf Coast. During the ERV Ready, Set, Roll course, we will certify additional drivers. Due to over-whelming registrations for the International Humanitarian Law course, we’ve added a class on Wednesday, October 17th. This class explores guiding principles from the Geneva Conventions which sets forth Red Cross involvement around the globe.

For the complete list of classes please visit redcross.org/newisconsin or redcross.org/sewisconsin.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization which depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Door County Students Give Gift that Warms Hearts and those Served by American Red Cross

Nikki Pease's fifth-grade class present Diane Knutson, far left, a disaster volunteer for the Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross, with blankets that they made as part of Sunrise Serves the Community service project.

 Sturgeon Bay: Students have warm gift for homeless children

Written by Samantha Hernandez, Door County Advocate

The student service learning group at Sunrise Elementary School ended the academic year on a warm and fuzzy note with the donation of 27 fleece blankets and 15 fleece pillows to HELP of Door County and the local Red Cross.

The Sunrise Serves the Community student group works with guidance counselor Belinda Richard during the school year learning about leadership and working on service projects that benefit the community.

The student consensus early on was that they wanted to learn about homelessness, Richard said. The group contacted local organizations to learn all they could about subject.

Christine Salmon, then from the United Way of Door County; Joanne Ator, the county’s Economic Support supervisor; Judy Gregory from the Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross; and HELP of Door County youth advocate Jessica Holland all came to talk with the students.

From there, students brainstormed about how they could use what they learned to help others and what they would miss most if they lost their homes, Richard said.

The students decided that kids their age would want something to snuggle or something comfy.

“We decided we should make blankets for homeless children in our area,” student Allison Bridenhagen said. Allison was a fifth-grader at the time.

To raise money for the material, Sunrise Serves the Community hosted an after-school fun event to raise money for the fleece and the school’s Destination ImagiNation team, Richard said.

Walmart donated $50, several staff members donated fabric and Elementary Principal Ann Smejkal also chipped in more than $25 for the project.

The service group also created a short DVD presentation of what they learned from their research and what they would like each third-, fourth- and fifth-grade class in the school to do to help them meet their goal of 12 blankets.

Each class was asked to make one blanket. The group’s goal was exceeded when one class made an additional 10 blankets that they requested be sent to the tornado ravaged Joplin, Mo.

Seeing the entire school get involved with the project “was amazing,” Allison said.

The students also held a bake sale for Japan earthquake relief and raised about $300 that they donated to the Red Cross.

To see the digital story that Sunrise Serves the Community created as part of its service learning project check out the digital story at http://youtu.be/4j2uFmk_xJ4

Red Cross Responds After Tornadoes, Wildfires Leave Devastation Across The South

Editorial note: Call (202) 303-5551 to speak with an American Red Cross spokesperson on the groundVisit the Red Cross Disaster Online Newsroom for response information, including photos, audio, and press releases.

Residents wait to receive meals from an Emergency Response Vehicle in Raleigh, NC.

 WASHINGTON, April 18, 2011 – The American Red Cross is working around the clock to provide relief to people affected by the deadly tornadoes and scorching wildfires that left a path of destruction in six states across the south over the weekend.

Strong tornadoes ripped homes off their foundations, destroyed businesses and schools, overturned cars and buses, uprooted trees and downed power lines in Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. In North Carolina alone, preliminary disaster assessments show almost 500 homes destroyed and more than 1,000 damaged. Some of the hardest hit areas are still inaccessible, and officials say that many more than 1,000 families will be homeless in the state.

Red Cross workers sheltered more than 500 people over the weekend, served meals throughout the affected neighborhoods, and provided personal hygiene items and supplies to help as the clean-up begins. With government officials reporting more than 40 deaths from the tornadoes, Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath. Red Cross chapters throughout the south are deploying trained disaster teams into the area and more than 25 Red Cross emergency response vehicles are in hard-hitNorth Carolina, or on their way to the state.

Red Cross workers make their way through devastated neighborhoods throughout West Texas. Photo Credit: Phil Beckman/American Red Cross

In Texas, wildfires have spread across more than 700,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing people to leave their neighborhoods. Red Cross disaster workers have opened shelters and are feeding those displaced by the fires. As families return to their neighborhoods, Red Cross teams are providing them with food and water. The Red Cross is also assisting those who have lost their homes to the fires, providing them with food, clothing and other necessities.

“Families have lost everything, and we are doing what we can to help them as they figure out what’s next,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “We’ll continue to help them in the weeks ahead as they try to get back on their feet.”

Since the end of March, the Red Cross has offered relief to people affected by 35 disasters in 20 states. The Red Cross is able to respond quickly with the help of corporations who are members of the organization’s Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). ADGP members pledge donations on an ongoing basis to allow the Red Cross to pre-position supplies and be ready to take immediate action when disasters occur.

ADGP members include 3M, Altria, Aon, Cisco Foundation, ConAgra Foods, Darden Restaurants, Inc., Dr Pepper Snapple Group, FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Kraft Foods, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Merck, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation,  Northrop Grumman, Ryder Charitable Foundation, Southwest Airlines, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target,  The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare, UPS and Walmart.

 The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help people affected by disasters like these tornadoes and wildfires. You can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box 37243,Washington,DC20013.

 About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Red Cross Responds to Two House Fires over the Weekend

Fire Crews at the East Mason Street Fire on January 6, 2011. Nine people displaced, and Red Cross assisted eight.

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter responded to a house fire in Wrightstown around 6:30pm on Saturday, January 8, displacing six people. Two Red Cross volunteers were on the scene to assist the three adults, two teens, and one child with their immediate emergency needs.

We provided hotel stay and monetary assistance for clothing and food. We also provided comfort kits (which include soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, comb, facial tissue, deodorant, razors, shaving cream and lotion) and homemade quilts to all family members.

This morning around 6:30am we received another call of a house fire on Doty St on the East side of Green Bay affecting 9 adults. Two Red Cross volunteers assisted 8 adults with monetary assistance for clothing and food. All clients also received comfort kits and homemade quilts. They all had friends or relatives to stay with.

One individual did not utilize Red Cross services.

This makes for the fourth fire response the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter has assisted at since the New Year. In total from the four incidences we have helped 27 people with their immediate emergency needs

We need your help! Red Cross disaster assistance is free and is made possible by community donations. You can help individuals of this disaster and others by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter for local disaster relief. For information call the Lakeland Chapter at 920-468-8535 or visit www.arclakeland.org.

It’s a sobering fact…..

But disaster strikes every day in the United States. Not just once, either—the American Red Cross responds to about 200 disasters every day, amounting to some 70,000 in a year.

Every Single Donation Brings Hope!