Red Cross Helps Arkansas Tornado Survivors with Shelter, Food and Relief Supplies

As severe weather threat continues, people should prepare and use free app alerts 

Tornado damage, Mayflower Arkansas 27April2014. Early reports and images show that Mayflower Arkansas suffered heavy damage.

The American Red Cross is helping people in Arkansas and several other states affected by Sunday’s devastating tornadoes.

More than 200 people spent Sunday night in shelters in Arkansas that were opened or supported by Red Cross workers. The Red Cross is also providing health and mental health services and Red Cross emergency vehicles will be distributing food throughout the affected areas.

“Our thoughts and sympathy are with all those impacted by these horrific tornadoes,” said Richard Reed, senior vice president, Disaster Cycle Services for the Red Cross. “Red Cross disaster teams are helping now and will continue to help for weeks to come.”

RED CROSS SENDS BLOOD The Red Cross provided several units of type O negative blood to two hospitals in Arkansas before the storm and supplied 40 units of plasma this morning to help treat those who were injured. The hospitals say they have a sufficient blood supply to handle the situation at this point. The Red Cross stands ready to assist with any additional blood needs. Anyone interested in donating blood should call 1-800-RED CROSS or your local blood bank to schedule an appointment in the weeks ahead.

The Red Cross also has shelters open in Oklahoma and is responding in northern Louisiana where flooding occurred after yesterday’s storms. Shelter and services also are being provided in North Carolina, which was hit Friday night by tornadoes.

SEVERE WEATHER NOT OVER The chance of severe storms is moving eastward today and could impact people in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. Red Cross chapters in those areas are preparing to respond by readying shelters, supplies and volunteers.

support-american-red-cross-in-arkansas-disaster-relief-for-arkansasDOWNLOAD TORNADO APP People should download the Red Cross tornado app onto their mobile devices. They can use the app’s “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know they are okay and find the location of Red Cross shelters. The app also includes a high-pitched siren and warning alert that signals when a tornado warning has been issued, as well as also an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled. The Red Cross sent out 2.1 million severe weather notifications over the weekend through its tornado app for tornado and thunderstorm watches and warnings.

If someone needs to find a shelter, they can contact their local Red Cross chapter or access the Red Cross shelter map which is updated every 30 minutes with shelter locations by address, city, state and/or zip code.

HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

American Red Cross Contributes an Initial $6 Million to Support Typhoon Haiyan Response Efforts in Philippines

Jasmin Ursal is staying at evacuation centre in Bogo. Photo: Jarkko Mikkonen/Finnish Red Cross

Jasmin Ursal is staying at evacuation centre in Bogo. Photo: Jarkko Mikkonen/Finnish Red Cross

WASHINGTON, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 – The American Red Cross today announced an initial contribution of $6 million in support of the global Red Cross response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. These funds will be used to distribute relief items, repair and rebuild shelters, provide healthcare and ensure access to clean water and sanitation systems.

“We are grateful for the American public’s generosity and compassion following what has been called one of the strongest storms in world history,” said David Meltzer, chief international officer for the American Red Cross. “The American Red Cross is in a unique position to help provide support by airlifting relief supplies from its warehouses around the world, providing trained disaster responders specializing in damage assessment and telecommunications, and by channeling its financial support to the Philippine Red Cross and its more than 500,000 staff and volunteers and our other global partners in the Red Cross network – all of which go to providing relief from this devastating storm.”

In addition to financial assistance, the American Red Cross is lending people, expertise and equipment to this effort with four specialists already on the ground in the Philippines. These include two people who specialize in telecommunication and who are traveling with satellite equipment, and two others who specialize in disaster assessment.

The Philippine Red Cross has extensive experience in search and rescue and large-scale relief and recovery programs. The Philippine Red Cross is the largest humanitarian organization in the country, with 1,000 staff members and an estimated 500,000 active volunteers engaged in this disaster response. Their volunteer relief teams continue to provide assistance in the hardest hit communities, including assisting in search and rescue efforts.

suppliesThe Philippine Red Cross has begun distributions of emergency supplies and has provided meals to people affected by the storm. On Sunday, 6,000 packs of relief supplies were sent to Leyete and other affected communities. However, supply delivery in the worst affected city of Tacloban has been significantly constrained by destroyed infrastructure, blocked roads, and downed communication lines.

Specialized emergency response teams from Red Cross societies across the globe are moving into the Philippines to assist the Philippine Red Cross. These include teams with expertise in logistics, disaster assessment, shelter, health, water and sanitation.

“A global Red Cross relief effort is well underway and we are working closely with our international partners to help get aid where it is needed,” said Meltzer.

Despite the tragic aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, thousands of survivors are grateful for their lives. The Philippine Red Cross worked closely with local disaster authorities to support preemptive evacuations, helping move more than 125,000 families to safer shelter prior to the storm making landfall. The Philippine Red Cross also disseminated early warning messages and safety tips in areas along the path of the typhoon.

Here in the United States, the American Red Cross is helping to reconnect families separated by the typhoon and has activated its family tracing services. If people are looking for a missing family member in the Philippines, please remember that many phone lines are down. If people are unable to reach loved ones, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a family tracing case.

The American Red Cross expects to make additional contributions to support the humanitarian response in the coming weeks. Donations received from American Red Cross and other Red Cross partners will aid the Philippines relief and recovery efforts through the Philippine Red Cross and possibly other organizations as experts on the ground determine the best way forward.

HOW TO HELP Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS to donate to typhoon relief. People can also mail in a donation to their local Red Cross chapter. Gifts to the American Red Cross will support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific crisis, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other crises.

In a new partnership, Facebook is making it possible for users to donate directly to the American Red Cross either through a notification in News Feed, or directly on the Red Cross Facebook page. This is the first time that the American Red Cross has engaged in such a large-scale fundraising program with a social platform. For the Red Cross that means that with the click of a button on Facebook, we can connect people who want to help with those who are so desperately in need in the Philippines. This Facebook effort for the Philippines in the United States will continue through November 15.

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.

Superstorm Sandy: One Year Later

The American Red Cross has released a one-year Superstorm Sandy report detailing its response and recovery work to help residents affected by this historic storm, which made landfall on October 29, 2012.

“Donations to the Red Cross have helped countless families start over in a new place to live, clean out the mold from their water-logged homes, or get much-needed financial and emotional support to rebuild their homes and lives,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. “The needs are still great, and there is more work to do. We are committed to continue working with the communities that were impacted by this devastating storm to provide services and support.”

INSIDE THE REPORT The One-Year Superstorm Sandy Report details the extraordinary measures taken by the Red Cross to respond to Sandy, from volunteer deployment and relief efforts to temporary and permanent housing assistance to key partnerships with government and non-government entities, as well as the strong outpouring of support from donors..

The Red Cross met Sandy’s significant damage with its largest U.S. response in five years. More than 17,000 trained workers from all over the country – 90 percent of them volunteers, powered the massive emergency relief effort. This response included:

  • Serving more than 17.5 million meals and snacks in a huge feeding operation.
  • Handing out more than 7 million relief items such as cold weather items and clean-up supplies.
  • Providing nearly 113,000 health services and emotional support contacts for people who have been living in very tough conditions.
  • Providing 74,000 overall shelter stays for Sandy.

RECOVERY EFFORTS ONGOING Even as its emergency relief work was occurring, the Red Cross began to help people in the long recovery process that continues today. Trained Red Cross workers are meeting with those in need, providing case management and financial assistance to help with security and utility deposits, home repairs and rent as well as linking them to available social service programs.

The response and recovery from a storm of this size takes time and help from many organizations. Over the past year, the Red Cross has worked together with government and community partners at every step to provide assistance to those that need it most. In addition, the Red Cross has given $60 million in grants to a number of nonprofits working in New Jersey and New York to help people with home repairs, mold remediation, food, financial assistance and financial counseling, and to support the work of community roundtables to help address unmet needs.

THANK YOU The work of the Red Cross is possible because of the compassion and generosity of the American public, and the Red Cross already has spent or made commitments to spend $280 million, more than 90 percent of the $308 million donated for Sandy. The Red Cross expects to use the biggest share of the remaining money to help people with a range of housing-related expenses, support community resiliency programs and give more grants to community non-profit partners to help Sandy survivors.

“We are grateful for the generosity of donors across the nation who continually make it possible for the Red Cross to respond to once-in-a-generation disasters like Sandy, as well as the 70,000 disasters we confront each year,” McGovern said.

The report and other information on the Red Cross Sandy relief and recovery efforts can be found at www.redcross.org/sandy-response.

2012 Disaster Response Statistics

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How the Red Cross Is Using Donations to Help Sandy Victims

Author: Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross published in The Daily Beast

The American Red Cross has received widespread support after Superstorm Sandy, and along with those contributions have come questions—including in stories that have run on The Daily Beast—about how those donations are being put to use, and what we’re going to do with the remaining funds. These are legitimate questions, and the Red Cross is committed to transparency and welcomes this opportunity to answer them.

RED CROSS

People receive free food from the American Red Cross in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood in Queens, N.Y. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

In my more than four-and-a-half years at the Red Cross, I’ve been no stranger to disasters, whether tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes. But what struck me was the massiveness of Sandy’s fury, the miles and miles of devastation that just seemed endless.

The destruction wrought by Sandy also had a personal element for me: I grew up and spent most of my life in the New York/New Jersey area, and my heart goes out to all those affected by the storm. While I have been to the impacted areas several times since Sandy hit, I will never get used to looking into the eyes of someone who lost everything. At the same time, I am also struck by the determination of these individuals to start over, rebuild, and power through their loss.

 

So how exactly are we helping them? While the American Red Cross is a grassroots network of local chapters and volunteers, the sheer size of Sandy required us to bring people and resources from all over the country to help our chapters in New York and New Jersey. Over the past seven weeks, we have mobilized more than 15,800 trained workers, 90 percent of whom are volunteers. We have also worked closely with other nonprofit and government partners, because a disaster this size is too big for any one organization to handle.

This is the biggest U.S. response we have mounted in over five years. Even before Sandy hit, we opened shelters across multiple states, and we have been providing help every day since. So far, we have:

• Served more than 8.9 million meals and snacks.

• Handed out more than 6.7 million relief items such as cold-weather items and clean-up supplies.

• Provided more than 103,000 health services and emotional-support contacts for people living in very tough conditions.

• Supplied more than 81,000 shelter stays, more than half of the total number of Sandy shelter stays (158,000) provided by a range of groups.

And we still have much more work to do.

Of the $202 million in donations and pledges we have received to date, we believe that approximately $110 million of that will be spent on our emergency-relief operations by the end of December. Remaining Sandy-related donations will be used by the Red Cross to meet longer-term needs—what we call “recovery”—of people affected by this disaster.

Our initial recovery efforts are expected to cost at least $60 million; any remaining funds will be allocated to additional long-term efforts. We have developed a recovery plan by working closely with other nonprofits and government agencies—including FEMA—to coordinate efforts and identify unmet needs.

While I have been to the impacted areas several times since Sandy hit, I will never get used to looking into the eyes of someone who lost everything.

Our federal government partners have requested that we focus our assistance first on three groups of people who have already been identified as needing aid:

• People in New York and New Jersey whose homes were destroyed and are in need of either repair assistance or longer-term rental housing;

• People whose homes were destroyed in states which did not receive federal disaster money;

• People with demonstrated needs that exceed what can be met by insurance, FEMA, and state resources.

This means that part of our efforts over the next several months will involve one-on-one work helping those who have trouble finding assistance on their own. These are the types of activities a survivor doesn’t want to go through alone, and we can provide the expertise, as well as a shoulder to lean on during the process. That includes helping people fill out insurance paperwork, identify child-care resources, find new housing, and connect with social services in their communities.

In addition, we also will be supporting projects and programs of other nonprofit groups in the New York and New Jersey area, such as working with several local food banks to help Sandy survivors have access to food during the new year.

It is the generous support of so many people and businesses across the country have enabled us to bring help and hope to tens of thousands of people impacted by Sandy. We are committed to being good stewards of these contributions entrusted to us—and we will be there for the survivors of this devastating storm as they fight for their future