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, 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 or join our blog at

St. Norbert Students “Stop” the Music to Raise Funds for Red Cross

St. Norbert’s “Groups on Campus” raised funds to help the American Red Cross’s relief effort in Japan.  Participating groups included:  Beyond Borders, Peace and Justice Center, Japan Club and the Chinese Student Association

 There was competition between offices on the St. Norbert campus.  Funds were raised “door to door,”  and people paid to have the song “Friday” stop. This effort raised more than $2,000.  Troy Wiesner (pictured above), who graduated in May, presented the Red Cross with the proceeds from the fundraiser.

Writers’ Relief Raises Nearly $2,000 for Japan

To benefit Japan, local writers and authors offered a night of storytelling and prose at the Reader’s Loft on Friday, March 25, 2011.  The group raised $1,919.51 to support the Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Response efforts.  

“People came out to listen to our stories, bid on auction items, and get involved as a community to help Japan recover,” stated Nancy Nabak, one of the organizers of the event.

Special guest, Mayuko Usui, who is from Japan, spoke to the group about her experience of the quake and tsunami.  Usui , whose mother-in-law lives in Green Bay, came to the U.S. one week ago with her daughter to have a safer place to live while things are yet uncertain in Japan.  Her husband, a teacher in Tokyo, stayed behind. 

Usui talked about escalating prices and said it cost $3,000 for airline tickets for her and her one year old.  Continuing tremors, radiation, water safety concerns, and rolling black outs were a part of her everyday life.  Though, throughout all of this turmoil, she noted, “No one is complaining.”

Legacies Arts Project, LLC also got involved by donating for auction watercolor depictions of the earthquake and tsunami created by people with early onset dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  

The event was sponsored by the Writers’ Relief Group of Green Bay.

Writer’s Relief for Japan at the Reader’s Loft

Where:  Reader’s Loft, 2069 Central Ct., Green Bay

 When:  Friday, March 25, 2011, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

 Admission:  Cash Donation Suggested

 Join us for a night of Storytelling, Humor, Poetry and Prose to raise awareness and funds to support Japan.

For more information or if interested in reading, call Nancy Nabak at (920) 655-4185.

 Sponsored by:  Writer’s Relief Writing Group of Green Bay

All funds will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief and are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Videos: Frequently Asked Questions about International Disasters

Commonly asked questions regarding international disasters and how the American Red Cross responds.

Disaster Alert: Earthquake in Japan, Tsunami Warnings

Disaster Alert Update 1:54 PM – Our hearts go out to the people of Japan and the other survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. Right now, we are in discussions with the Japanese Red Cross to assess their needs and see how we can help. The Japanese Red Cross has extraordinary disaster response capabilities. They have been operating since 1887, and they run multiple hospitals and blood collection services across the country.

Eleven Japanese response teams are currently assessing damage and supplying first aid in the affected region. In addition, the Japanese government has mobilized an emergency response, deploying 900 rescue workers to this area.

The American Red Cross has a warehouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, fully stocked with pre-positioned relief supplies for 5,000 families, and it has disaster specialists on stand by. These supplies can be used for people in U.S. territories or other Pacific nations.

Domestic Update:
American Red Cross chapters in the pacific islands of Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands and Guam as well as those on the west coast of the U.S. are on alert and ready to provide assistance as needed.

In Hawaii, evacuation centers (not managed by the Red Cross) were set up for people who left their homes. These centers provide a safe place outside of the evacuation zone for residents to gather, access a restroom and drinking water. The Hawaii Red Cross is staging cots and blankets across the islands in case shelters are needed.

Evacuation shelters are open with additional locations on standby in Oregon, Washington and California. The Red Cross is working closely with state officials in Hawaii and West Coast Emergency Operations Centers around activities such as sheltering and feeding.

Approximately 100 Red Cross mobile feeding vehicles are on standby.

Red Cross disaster supply warehouses in Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), California, Washington and Hawaii are activated in case relief supplies are needed. We’re mobilizing resources as necessary and are coordinating with FEMA and state Emergency Operation Centers.

See our post on finding information about family members affected by the earthquake.

Update 1:24 PM – The American Red Cross has created a designation for our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. If you wish to give, please visit

Donations can also be made to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief by texting REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 donation.

Update 11:45 AM – The American Red Cross is prepared to respond to any domestic or Japanese request for blood as a result of the earthquake in Japan and the Pacific Tsunami.

The American Red Cross will ship blood products outside of the United States (adhering to appropriate regulatory guidelines), following a specific request from the Japanese government or the Japanese Red Cross.

To date, the American Red Cross has not received any requests for blood from the Japanese Red Cross, the Japanese government or the U.S. State Department.

At this time, we are not collecting blood from individuals in America to go to Japan and we do not anticipate the need for a general blood donor appeal to support our preparedness efforts. Should the need arise, the American Red Cross will do everything it can to assist Japan with their request.

As always, blood donors in the United States are encouraged to call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit us online at to make an appointment to give blood. Your blood donation will become part of the nation’s blood supply and will help ensure that we are prepared for any blood needs that arise here at home or wherever blood is needed.

Japan – A series of major earthquakes struck off the coast of Japan at around 2:46 pm JST on March 11. One of the earthquakes measured 8.9 in magnitude. Tsunami warnings, watches, and advisories are in effect in multiple locations.