American Red Cross Had 137 Big U.S. Relief Operations in 46 States in Disaster-Filled 2011

At home and across the globe, Red Cross relief efforts large part of the scene.

WASHINGTON, Monday, December 19, 2011 — The American Red Cross helped hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were forever changed by disasters in 2011, from tornadoes, floods, wildfires and hurricanes in the U.S. to earthquakes and other disasters around the world.

Throughout the year, the American Red Cross supported the people of Japan and Haiti, while launching 137 domestic disaster relief operations in 46 states and territories to help people affected by fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes across the United States. In addition, major international disasters included theJapanearthquake and tsunami response and the continuing work following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

“The number of lives affected by large disasters in the past year is simply staggering,” said Charley Shimanski, Senior Vice President for Red Cross Disaster Services. “Devastating tornadoes, flooding and wildfires wiped out entire neighborhoods. Through it all, the Red Cross, our partners, and communities nationwide responded, offering people shelter, food and comfort.”

In the United States, the Red Cross opened 1,019 shelters and provided more than 130,000 overnight stays. 27,622 trained disaster workers served more than 6.7 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 2.6 million relief items. Health and mental health workers provided more than 133,000 consultations and Red Cross workers opened 16,752 cases to help people get on the road to recovery.

 Tornadoes, flooding and wildfires ripped across the country

 State after state faced the powerful force of tornadoes in 2011. Devastating winds plowed through many neighborhoods, leaving destruction in their wake. Through it all, the Red Cross was on the scene, providing a safe place to stay, food to eat and supplies to help with the clean-up. The Red Cross helped people affected by large-scale tornadoes in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin in 2011.

A large part of the country – almost 20 states – was impacted by flooding in 2011. The Red Cross launched 27 relief operations related to flooding in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont.

Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused the need for relief operations in more than a dozen states.

Thousands of disaster workers were deployed and more than 250 Red Cross feeding trucks were sent into neighborhoods to distribute meals and clean-up supplies. In New York and New Jersey alone, the Red Cross provided almost 34,000 overnight stays in shelters and distributed more than 840,000 meals and snacks.

Wildfires consumed almost four million acres across the state of Texas, and destroyed thousands of acres in New Mexico, Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma. Again, the Red Cross stepped in to help in the fire-ravaged neighborhoods, providing a safe place to stay, food to eat and emotional support for those forced to leave their homes, as well as firefighters and first responders

Japan earthquake, tsunami changed people’s lives forever

In March, a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan, claiming more than 15,000 lives, as well as damaging and destroying buildings, roads and nuclear power plants. Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless and lives were changed forever.

The Japanese Red Cross responded immediately, distributing food, emergency kits, blankets and supplies. Their medical teams provided health services, while other volunteers provided emotional support and social assistance.  More than 80,000 volunteers assisted in operating shelters, helped with clean-up efforts and provided care for the elderly.

Through the generosity of the American people and their donations, the American Red Cross continues to support recovery efforts through the Japanese Red Cross. These include improving living conditions in evacuation centers and temporary homes by providing appliance packages for families and winterizing structures against the cold. American Red Cross funds are also supporting the Japanese Red Cross in building a temporary hospital and rebuilding a Red Cross nursing school dedicated to training specialists in disaster medical care. Additional American Red Cross support will improve the disaster response capacity of the Japanese Red Cross.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to assist people affected by disasters. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local 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.

Widespread Flooding in Multiple States as Storm Moves North

WASHINGTON, August 28, 2011 – More than 27,000 people spent Saturday night in shelters opened or supported by the American Red Cross as Hurricane Irene moved up the East Coast. The storm is shaping up to become a large flood relief operation and thousands of people across multiple states have already turned to the Red Cross for help.

“Our main focus right now is providing people with a safe place to stay and food to eat,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. “There have been mandatory evacuations all along the East Coast and millions are without power because of this hurricane.”

While it is too early to know the full extent of the storm’s damage, the Red Cross expects to be helping people for the next several weeks.

The Red Cross has relief operations ongoing in more than a dozen states and thousands of disaster workers helping people fromNorth CarolinatoNew England. Every Red Cross feeding truck east of theRocky Mountains- more than 250 – are set to go into neighborhoods as soon as conditions permit. Tens of thousands of pre-packaged meals are in position, and the Red Cross is working with its community partners to have feeding kitchens in place after the storm moves through.

“This is a big response involving multiple states and the response will cost millions,” Shimanski said. If people would like to help, they can click or text to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Donations can be made by visiting www.redcross.org or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions can also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or mailed to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box 37243,Washington,DC20013.

 Irene has already caused the cancellation of more than 50 blood drives, adding up to a loss of approximately 1,500 blood donations along the East Coast. Because each donation can be made into as many as three blood products, this translates to approximately 4,500 blood products not being available for patients who need them. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet height and weight requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height), and who are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or go to redcrossblood.org.

Those affected by the storm can let friends and family know where they are by registering on the Red Cross Safe and Well website at redcross.org. They can also call a family member or friend with internet access and ask them to do their registration.

Fast Facts: Hurricane Irene

Saturday night, the Red Cross operated or supported nearly 500 shelters with more than 27,000 residents. Shelters now stretch from North Carolina to Maine. We have been opening and supporting more shelters as the storm progresses, and we expect those numbers could increase with power outages and possible flooding.

Our main focus right now is providing people with shelter and food and we’re putting the full force of the Red Cross behind our response. That means we have:
• Relief operations in more than a dozen coastal states.
• Thousands of trained disaster workers helping people from North Carolina to New England.
• More than 250 feeding vehicles – or more than two thirds of our entire fleet – ready to go into neighborhoods as soon as conditions permit. This includes every Red Cross feeding truck east of the Rocky Mountains.
• Tens of thousands of prepackaged meals are being positioned along the coast and we are working with our partners to make sure that we have kitchens positioned in the right place after the storm moves through.

The Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations in areas unaffected by this storm and asks that community members in affected areas to consider donating blood once the storm passes through and it’s safe to do so. Irene has already caused cancellation of more than 50 blood drives and the loss of nearly 1,500 of blood collections along the East Coast at a time when the blood supply is already low.

People should register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website to let friends and family know where they are as Hurricane Irene hits the East Coast. They can register for Safe and Well by going to redcross.org.

This is a big disaster across multiple states, and the response will cost millions. If you can help, we encourage you to click, text or call to donate to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit http://www.redcross.org or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

State Red Cross chapters en route to help with Irene efforts

August 26, 2011: Written by Sarah Kloepping Herald Times Reporter

August 26, 2011 Long Island, New York.American Red Cross Volunteer Saul Linares checks up on Victor Montez,13, and provides him with blankets for his family. The Montez family lives in an area that has been put under mandatory evacuation in Long Island, NY. Among the first shelter inhabitants, Montez helped Red Cross volunteers assemble hundreds of cots as Hurricane Irene draws closer. Photo by Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross

MANITOWOC — Wisconsin chapters of the American Red Cross will aid victims of Hurricane Irene, which is slated to impact much of the East Coast beginning as early as today.

Red Cross spokesperson Barbara Behling said as of early Friday afternoon, eight trained Red Cross members from northeastern Wisconsin — including Manitowoc resident Rich Davis — were on their way to North Carolina, where the storm is expected to hit first. She said the number of trained volunteers is increasing and she anticipated at least a dozen by today.

“If a terrible storm hits Manitowoc, Wis., people are going to come to help, trained Red Cross volunteers,” she said. “They hug their wives and their kids goodbye and they run to help people in need. It’s the same thing when it happens elsewhere in the country. The goodhearted folks from Wisconsin drop everything and they go to help people in need.”

The Red Cross is planning to send about 600 Red Cross volunteers from across the nation to the East Coast.

“Once we know what the storm actually does, then we will be adjusting our figures,” she said. “If the storm would turn and head east … if Manhattan takes a direct hit, that’s certainly going to affect how we respond.”

Behling said sending area residents to a potential disaster site makes the local community stronger.

“They’re having an experience of setting up a larger shelter, feeding thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of people in a day, the distribution of supplies,” she said. “So it’s really an exercise in preparedness and response. And then our volunteers come back with that talent and knowledge.”

Sarah Kloepping: (920) 686-2105 or skloepping@htrnews.com

Local volunteers help prepare for Hurricane Irene

 

GREEN BAY – Local Red Cross volunteers are headed to the East Coast to help those in the path of Hurricane Irene.

Hurricane Irene is predicted to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast in more than 70 years.

An Emergency Response Vehicle, or ERV, from Green Bay and another from Stevens Point will be leaving this morning.  A volunteer from Manitowoc will be flying out for Rhode Island today to serve as a damage assessment supervisor.

Jerry Prellwitz of Green Bay will drive one of the ERVs along with another volunteer from Neenah.

“I just want to help people,” said Prellwitz. “I just feel this is my way of giving back and if somebody can use my help, I’ll lend it and I’ll give it to them.”

In addition, more than 200 Red Cross mobile feeding vehicles are heading towards the coast to help people in the path of the storm. Dozens of shelters are being prepared all along the East Coast.

“The Red Cross is moving volunteers, vehicles and supplies, getting ready for a response effort that spans nearly the entire East Coast,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “While we’re getting ready at the Red Cross, we want everyone in the storm’s path to get ready as well by getting a disaster kit, making a family emergency plan, and listening to local officials regarding evacuations.”

Irene could affect blood collections along the East Coast at a time when the nation’s blood supply is already low. The Red Cross is urging those who are eligible to give blood prior to the storm’s arrival.

American Red Cross disaster preparedness starts long before a hurricane makes landfall. On average, the Red Cross spends about $450 million on disaster relief every year.

If someone would like to support Red Cross disaster efforts, they can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

Red Cross Opening Shelters, Mobilizing Equipment

Residents urged to heed evacuation orders.

Hurricane Irene is headed toward the East Coast and the American Red Cross is mobilizing disaster workers and equipment along much of the eastern seaboard to help those in the path of this powerful storm.

Hurricane Irene is predicted to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast in more than 70 years, and could threaten several big population centers. A hurricane watch has been issued for theNorth Carolinacoast and the Red Cross has opened shelters in the state as evacuation orders go into effect. In addition, more than 200 Red Cross mobile feeding vehicles are heading towards the coast to help people in the path of the storm.

“The Red Cross is moving volunteers, vehicles and supplies, getting ready for a response effort that spans nearly the entire East Coast,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “While we’re getting ready at the Red Cross, we want everyone in the storm’s path to get ready as well by getting a disaster kit, making a family emergency plan, and listening to local officials regarding evacuations.”

Dozens of shelters are being prepared all along the East Coast. People can find open Red Cross shelters by viewing an interactive Google map at www.redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross shelter app for their iPhone from the iTunes store. A mobile-friendly version of the Hurricane Safety Checklist is now available for smart phone users to download at www.redcross.org/mobile.

It’s important that those affected by the storm stay in contact with loved ones and the Red Cross Safe and Well website can help them do that. Safe and Well is a secure, easy-to-use online tool to help families connect in an emergency. People can register by visiting the Red Cross web site or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).    

A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions could be a threat within 48 hours. An upgrade to a hurricane warning will mean hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Those in the affected area should finish their storm preparations and evacuate if authorities ask them to do so.

Hurricane Irene has caused significant damage in the southern Bahamasand the Bahamas Red Cross is managing shelters and helping people displaced by the storm. A regional disaster management expert is headed to theBahamastoday to assist with disaster assessment and response. In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Red Cross is mobilizing volunteers as flooding, damage to homes and impassable roads are left in the storm’s wake. The United Nations is reporting hundreds of homes have been damaged and it is difficult to communicate with many localities.

In addition, Irene could affect blood collections along the East Coast at a time when the nation’s blood supply is already low. The Red Cross is urging those who are eligible to give blood prior to the storm’s arrival. Donating blood now, before the storm, will help ensure blood is available in the aftermath of Irene should conditions prohibit people from traveling to blood collections.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet height and weight requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height), and who are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit us online at www.redcrossblood.org.

Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) members support Red Cross disaster efforts by pledging donations to the Red Cross in advance of major disasters to ensure an immediate response to help people affected. ADGP members responsible for these generous donations include 3M, Altria Group, Aon, Caterpillar, Cisco Foundation , ConAgra Foods , Costco Wholesale Corporation, 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, Optum, Ryder Charitable Foundation, Southwest Airlines, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target, The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare, UPS and Walmart.

American Red Cross disaster preparedness starts long before a hurricane makes landfall, beginning with keeping supplies and equipment on stand-by all year to help people in need. On average, the Red Cross spends about $450 million on disaster relief every year. If someone would like to support Red Cross disaster efforts, they can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS, texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or sending contributions to their local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, 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 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.