WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an unusually busy year, the American Red Cross helped hundreds of thousands of people impacted by disasters in 2015, both here at home and around the globe. Red Cross disaster workers responded to 176 large U.S. disasters – more than each of the past three years.
The cost of just the four largest Red Cross disaster responses in the United States is more than $30 million – which includes flooding in Texas and South Carolina, wildfires in California and Typhoon Soudelor, which battered the island of Saipan in August; (Saipan is part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific).
With thousands forced to leave their homes, the Red Cross provided more than 34,000 overnight shelter stays, served more than 1.1 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 800,000 relief items this year (as of December 8). Red Cross caseworkers provided recovery support to more than 19,000 households, and health and mental health workers provided more than 65,000 consultations after disasters. See a video summary and infographic of Red Cross disaster response efforts in 2015.
As part of the world's largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross also worked alongside other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to support families in Nepal after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake there in April. Across the world, the Red Cross continues to address the needs of displaced families from Burundi, people facing food insecurity in Senegal, and is assisting with the ongoing migration crisis in Europe.
"Whether a disaster affects just one family or thousands of families, the Red Cross is committed to helping people get back on their feet as quickly as possible," said Brad Kieserman, vice president of disaster operations and logistics for the Red Cross. "But we need your support now to continue providing help to families affected by disasters." The Red Cross depends on generous financial donations to provide services.
Flooding, Wildfires Devastated Communities Across U.S.
In May and June, the Red Cross responded across multiple states to help people impacted by flooding and wildfires. Residents of Texas, Alaska, California, Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Illinois turned to the Red Cross for help. In July and August, the Red Cross responded as raging wildfires burned out of control in Washington, California and other western states. In August, Typhoon Soudelor made landfall on the Mariana Islands of Saipan and Tinian.
In September, the Red Cross delivered vital resources after several massive fires in California destroyed hundreds of homes, forcing thousands of people to evacuate. As the Red Cross continued to assist people in California, catastrophic flooding hit South Carolina in early October and again, hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers responded. Then in early November, Texas was hit by a second round of relentless storms and floods just months after flash flooding wreaked havoc on much of the state in May. The Red Cross opened numerous shelters, provided food, health and mental health services and helped people plan their next steps.
Home Fires Continued to be Largest U.S. Disaster Threat
Amidst all of these devastating events, home fires continued to be the largest disaster threat in the United States. During 2015, the Red Cross provided casework assistance to help 214,000 people whose lives were affected by a fire in their home. The Red Cross also helped prevent home fires and related injuries and deaths by working with thousands of local partners across the country to install 195,000 smoke alarms and teach 268,000 youth about fire safety in 2015.
Nepal Earthquake and Migration Crisis
In late April, a devastating earthquake hit Nepal, causing significant destruction and loss of life. Working with Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from 33 countries, the American Red Cross helped provide 4.6 million liters of clean water and 70,000 cash grants to support 350,000 people. Cash grants empower families to buy the items they deem most urgent in their time of greatest need.
Currently, families are searching for safety across the Middle East and Europe, and the global Red Cross network is providing vital humanitarian assistance to those in need. More than 49,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are helping tens of thousands of migrants and refugees in 28 countries throughout Europe, providing help such as food, water, healthcare, hygiene kits, baby supplies, clothing and first aid kits. The American Red Cross deployed eight disaster specialists to support the effort, along with 10,000 cots to help families in Germany.
HOW YOU CAN HELP 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 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, DC 20013.
About our Corporate Holiday Supporters:
During this holiday season, the American Red Cross is grateful for those corporate donors that generously contribute to our Holiday Giving Campaign. They include Circle K West Coast and Florida Divisions and Mazda and its Dealers. Thanks to the generosity of these and other supporters, the Red Cross is able to bring help and hope to people across the country. To learn more about our corporate holiday supporters, visit redcross.org/corporate-holiday-supporters.
The generous donations from ADGP and the Disaster Responder Program members 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: Walmart; VSP℠ Vision care for life; UPS; Target; State Farm; Nationwide Foundation; Merck Foundation; Mazda North American Operations; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; LDS Charities; Humble Bundle; The Home Depot; FedEx Corporation; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; Disney; Costco Wholesale; Caterpillar Foundation; Boise Paper; Anthem Foundation; and American Airlines.
ADGP $500,000 members are: Wells Fargo; Wawa; Visa; United Technologies Corporation; United Airlines; The TJX Companies, Inc.; Sunoco; Sprint; Southwest Airlines; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Prudential Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; National Grid; Mondelēz International Foundation; Meijer; Medtronic; The Kraft Heinz Company; Johnson Controls; John Deere Foundation; Grainger; Ford Motor Company; Farmers Insurance; Edison International; Dr Pepper Snapple Group; Discover; Delta Air Lines; Darden Restaurants Foundation; ConAgra Foods Foundation; Citi Foundation; Cisco Foundation; Capital One; BNY Mellon; Bank of America; Aon; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; American Express; Altria Group; and 3M.
Disaster Responder Program members are: U-Haul International; U.S. Bank; T O Y O T A; State Street Foundation; Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Foundation, Inc.; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Sealed Air; San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E); Ryder; Residence Inn by Marriott; PuroClean Disaster Recovery; PSEG Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; New Balance Foundation; Neiman Marcus Group; Morgan Stanley; MetLife Foundation; Marsh & McLennan Companies; Land O'Lakes, Inc.; Interstate All Battery Center; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; IKEA; IBM Corporation; HP Company Foundation; Hi-Rez Studios; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; H&M; General Motors Foundation; Entergy Corporation; The Clorox Company; BHP Billiton; Ball Foundation; AXA; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AT&T; AstraZeneca; Astellas USA Foundation; Almost Family; Alcoa; and 1-800-BOARDUP.
SOURCE American Red Cross