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.

American Red Cross Contributes an Initial $10 Million to Assist Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors

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The tsunami swiped away the gas station causing a fire which burn down the whole town. Photo: Japanese Red Cross

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, March 15, 2011

“We are grateful for the American public’s generosity and compassion following what has been declared one of the most devastating earthquakes in history,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. “The American Red Cross is in a unique position to help channel that support to our partner in Japan that is playing a critical humanitarian role and comforting the survivors.”

In addition to financial assistance, a disaster management expert from the American Red Cross arrived in Japan Monday for a week-long mission. She is serving on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross, which continues to support the Japanese government’s earthquake and tsunami response.

Within 10 minutes of the earthquake, the Japanese Red Cross Society called its disaster management task force to national headquarters to begin mapping the response to the crisis. Photo: Tatsuya Sugiyama/Japanese Red Cross

The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with two million volunteers nationwide. Many local volunteers took immediate action following the disaster by distributing relief items, offering hot meals, clearing debris and providing medical transportation.

As concerns mount about damage to nuclear power plants in the north, the Japanese Red Cross is also focused on supporting the 200,000 people who have been evacuated from the exclusion zone. Many of the Japanese Red Cross branch offices have trained nuclear decontamination teams and equipment, including special tents for decontamination which can be used to support a government response. A specialist medical team at the Nagasaki Red Cross hospital is on standby, ready to receive patients if people become ill as a result of radiation poisoning. Other hospitals in the area are monitoring radiation levels to protect the patients they are currently treating.

At public shelters and throughout the country, local volunteers are handing out relief items, including more than 65,000 blankets which are of great comfort to the displaced, many of whom had been sleeping outdoors, in their vehicles and wherever else they can find space since the earthquake.

“There is a real concern for the elderly, who are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia,” said Meltzer. “Japan is a country with a high proportion of seniors, and the Red Cross will be doing all it can to support them through this dreadful experience.”

More than 100 medical teams, made up of more than 700 people, including doctors and nurses have been providing assistance in the most affected areas through mobile medical clinics. Trained nurses with the Japanese Red Cross are also offering psychosocial support to traumatized survivors.

While the damage is undeniably severe and needs enormous, thousands of survivors are grateful for their lives post-disaster. Investments in early-warning systems and disaster preparedness and other training programs, including those from the American Red Cross following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, paid off in the Pacific Basin last week. The Japanese government’s own system helped hundreds of thousands evacuate to the approximately 2,000 shelters supported by the Japanese Red Cross before the first tsunami waves reached the mainland. And Red Cross societies in Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Palau and Fiji undoubtedly saved lives by alerting and evacuating residents when the tsunami warnings sounded.

Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. Gifts to the American Red Cross will support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific crisis, contributions are used to prepare for and service victims of other crises.

In the coming weeks, the American Red Cross expects to make additional contributions to support the humanitarian response. Donations received from American Red Cross and other Red Cross partners will aid Japan’s relief and recovery efforts through the Japanese Red Cross and possibly other organizations as experts on the ground determine the best way forward. Donations received by the Japanese Red Cross from people within Japan will be pooled and managed by an independent grant disbursement committee, which will include the Japanese Red Cross. The grants will be disbursed in installments in order to responsibly and effectively respond to the country’s evolving relief and recovery needs.

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.

— The American Red Cross today announced an initial contribution of $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society to assist in its ongoing efforts to provide medical care and relief assistance to the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

American Red Cross Responds to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami

Residents survey the devastation from a tsunami wave at Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2011 The American Red Cross stands ready and willing to assist following  a magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami that affected other countries in the Pacific region.

The Japanese Red Cross Society has extraordinary disaster response capabilities, and has mobilized eleven teams to heavily-damaged communities to provide assessments and first aid and prepare to supply emotional support and relief. The American Red Cross is in communication through its global partners with the Pacific nations that sustained the most damage, and stands ready to provide assistance as needed. To date, the Red Cross has not received any requests for blood from the Japanese Red Cross, the Japanese government or the United States State Department.

With potential danger headed to the west coast of the United States, Red Cross chapters are on alert and stand ready to provide assistance as needed in their communities in coordination with local and federal response partners. Red Cross warehouses in Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), California, Washington and Hawaii are mobilizing resources; and approximately 100 mobile feeding vehicles are on standby. Evacuation shelters are open with additional locations on standby in Oregon, Washington and California.

The Red Cross does not collect blood in Hawaii but has reached out to other blood collection agencies to offer services and is on standby to support any blood needs across the mainland as well.

 The best way to contact or locate U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan is to contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or (202) 647-5225. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has offered to assist Japan with restoring family links.

In addition, with ongoing evacuations in the United States, the Red Cross Safe and Well website is a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during emergencies like tsunamis. There are several easy ways to register yourself or search for a loved one on the Safe and Well website: from a computer, visit www.redcross.org, from a smartphone visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell or from any phone, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) for help registering.

 Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.

 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.

 

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 http://american.redcross.org/rcchatnews.

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 redcrossblood.org 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.