2019: Red Cross Gives Comfort and Support as Frequency of Disasters Increases
WASHINGTON (AP) — With the frequency of severe disasters on the rise, hundreds of thousands of people in 2019 turned to the American Red Cross for food, shelter and recovery support.
Large disasters like western wildfires, coastal hurricanes, and tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest meant the Red Cross and its partners had open shelters for more than 300 days this year, and disasters threatened so many people that the Red Cross sent over 320 million severe weather alerts through its free mobile apps. In fact, the frequency of major disasters with economic losses exceeding $1 billion is increasing in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and in 2019, 10 such billion-dollar disasters occurred.
“Red Cross volunteers worked tirelessly this year to help disaster survivors, many already recovering from the past two years of extreme storms and fires,” said Trevor Riggen, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services. “As severe weather and resulting major disasters continue to upend lives, families are relying on generous donations to the Red Cross to help provide relief and care in their darkest hours.”
‘THEY JUST KNOW YOU NEED HELP’ When large disasters devastated families in the U.S. this year, nearly 9,000 Red Cross workers — 90 percent of them volunteers — left their homes to:
Serve over 1.1 million meals and snacks with partners
Distribute over 354,000 relief items
Make over 92,000 contacts to support health, mental health, spiritual care and disability needs
Provide over 79,000 overnight shelter stays with partners
The Red Cross also provided emergency financial assistance to nearly 376,000 people for disaster needs like food and lodging. Many like Carlos Blanco were recovering from home fires — which account for most of the 60,000-plus disasters that the Red Cross responds to each year. “People don’t even know how important an organization like the Red Cross can be,” he said, “and what it represents during people’s worst time. Basically, it’s hope. They don’t care who you are. They just know you need help.”
Meanwhile, the Red Cross continues to work with its partners to prevent fire tragedies through its lifesaving Home Fire Campaign, which installed its 2 millionth free smoke alarm this year. Learn more in this infographic.
HELPING DORIAN SURVIVORS IN THE BAHAMAS As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross continues to help Hurricane Dorian survivors in the Bahamas. So far, it has committed millions of dollars and deployed more than 40 disaster responders to support the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network’s relief efforts (visit redcross.org/dorian ). Dorian was among 17 international disasters and humanitarian crises that the American Red Cross responded to this year.
RECONNECTING FAMILIES DURING EMERGENCIES In 2019, the American Red Cross helped reconnect over 17,000 family members separated by international conflict, disaster or migration — plus hundreds more following U.S. disasters. Through its Hero Care Network, the Red Cross also provided emergency communication services for nearly 100,000 military families, helping service members connect with family and facilitate their return home during critical times like a death in the family or birth of a child.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Help people in need by making a financial donation at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). For volunteer opportunities, contact your local chapter. In addition, this year’s severe weather and disasters caused about 34,000 blood donations to go uncollected because of cancelled blood drives. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, and the Red Cross urges all eligible individuals to donate. Make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org.
CORPORATIONS, FOUNDATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1 Million members are: Amazon; American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; The Home Depot Foundation; Latter-day Saint Charities; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Lowe’s Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Verizon; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; The Walt Disney Company; and Wells Fargo.
ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; Aon; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; The Clorox Company; CSX; Darden Foundation; Delta Dental Community Care Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company; Fox Corporation; General Motors; Grainger; HCA Healthcare; Humble Bundle; IBM Corporation; International Paper; The J.M. Smucker Company; Johnson Controls Foundation; LHC Group; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; New Balance Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; Procter & Gamble; PwC Charitable Foundation; Sands Cares; Southwest Airlines; The Starbucks Foundation; Target; The TJX Companies, Inc.; Toyota; United Airlines; UPS; The USAA Foundation, Inc.; and The Wawa Foundation.
Disaster Responder Program members are: 7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; American Express; Assurant; AstraZeneca; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company; The Ball Foundation; Barclays; BMW of North America; CarMax; The Coca-Cola Company; The Coca-Cola Foundation; Consumer Cellular; Cox Enterprises; DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; Dominion Energy; Duke Energy; Duke Realty; Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation; GE Foundation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; John Deere Foundation; The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Lenovo; Mastercard; Medtronic Foundation; Neiman Marcus Group; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Old Dominion Freight Line; The Pfizer Foundation; Prudential Financial; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Foundation; Ryder System, Inc.; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Security Finance’s Lending Hand Foundation; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Tata Consultancy Services; TD Ameritrade; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.
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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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