Disaster Update: East Harlem Explosion

March 28, 2014

Between March 12 and March 23, the Red Cross carried out the below activities in response to the explosion and building collapse in East Harlem, New York City.

  • The Red Cross Emergency Operations Center was in operation and fully staffed 24/7 from the time of the collapse on March 12 through Sunday, March 23.
  • More than 338 adults and children were comforted and assisted by Red Cross caseworkers at NYC resident service centers.
  • Over 100 volunteers from across the Greater NY Region responded to the call to help those affected.
  • Over 20,000 meals, snacks and beverages have been served to residents and first responders.
  • Between March 12 and March 14, more than 70 residents overnighted at the Red Cross operated shelter at the Salvation Army facility (for a total of 121 shelter stays; i.e., some of those 70 residents stayed more than one night).
  • Dozens of children received solace and safe haven at the Red Cross shelter, with a little extra help from the Good Dog Foundation therapy dogs in conjunction with the ASPCA.
  • Nearly 500 blankets and personal hygiene comfort kits have been distributed. Comfort kits contain toiletries including soap, toothbrushes, face clothes, toothpaste, deodorant and additional items.
  • Red Cross Client Assistance staff has connected with more than 20 families in need of mental health and/or physical health support.

Disaster Update: Landslide in WA

March 28, 2014

WA Landslide Response

Local Washington State disaster workers from the Red Cross and volunteers from across the country are providing shelter, food, water, emotional support, health services and spiritual care to Oso area residents, their families, and emergency responders.

Because of the difficult nature of this event, local mental health and spiritual care volunteers are caring for families who have lost loved ones and are waiting for word on the missing. The Red Cross also has health services volunteers who are reaching out to the families of the injured to see how we can help.

In addition, Family Care Centers are open in Darrington and Arlington to support families during this difficult time after they receive notification of loss of a loved one. Affected family members can go to these centers and receive emotional and spiritual support, mental health assistance, and care for children.

Since the landslide nearly a week ago, the Red Cross has mobilized four response vehicles and nearly 300 trained workers – more than half of them from Washington State.Through Thursday, these workers have served 6,600 meals and snacks, handed out dozens of comfort kits, and provided more than 600 mental health or health-related contacts.

Meals, snacks and drinks are being provided to first responders and the affected community through a partnership between Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and the Red Cross.

Photos: Washington Landslide

March 27, 2014

WA Landslide Response

WA Landslide Response

WA Landslide Response

WA landslide response

See more photos on Flickr

Disaster Update: Washington Landslide

March 27, 2014

The Red Cross is providing shelter, food, water, emotional support, health services and spiritual care to Oso, WA residents, their families, and emergency responders. Nearly 20 people are staying in Red Cross shelters.

Red Cross Family Care Centers providing information, meals, emotional support and childcare services will be opening in the coming days.

Because of the difficult nature of this event, there are local mental health and spiritual care volunteers who are caring for families who have lost loved ones and are waiting for word on the missing. Health services volunteers are reaching out to the families of the injured.

The Red Cross is also working in partnership with volunteers from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief to provide meals, snacks and drinks for the first responders.

Since Saturday, the Red Cross has mobilized four response vehicles and more than 100-trained workers to provide support. These workers have served 5,200 meals and snacks, and handed out dozens of comfort kits.

Disaster Update: Syria

February 27, 2014

Damascus/Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent jointly delivered emergency relief to over 4,000 families in Barzeh over the last two days. The 19-truck humanitarian convoy was the first to enter the Rural Damascus district since a truce was brokered there earlier this month.

“The convoy arrived in Barzeh yesterday and delivered medical, food and other items, including kitchen sets, blankets and mattresses, throughout the day to local committees,” said Daphnée Maret, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, who oversaw the operation. “ICRC economic security and health specialists had assessed the humanitarian situation in Barzeh last week. This is significant, as it paved the way for the impartial delivery of assistance, including medical relief, in an area directly affected by fighting.”

Local committees and local health personnel will start to distribute the aid provided by the ICRC at several easily accessible distribution points in the district today.

Red Cross Provides Dinner and HOME Preparedness Kits to Little Ax, Oklahoma Storm Victims

February 25, 2014


Little Ax, Oklahoma, February 22, 2014 –  It was nearly standing room only in the Little Ax Baptist Church meeting hall as more than one-hundred people packed in for dinner and a kit at the invitation of the American Red Cross. Every person sitting in the crowd had a personal story of the day that changed their life. The day a massive tornado ripped through their community, catching many unprepared.

“We came out here to make sure we had all the things that we did not have on May 19th, 2013, stated Shalan Pearson-Despain who lost her home in the tornado. “We were not ready for that day, we thought we were, but we weren’t and we want to make sure we are weather ready this year and being that the Red Cross has provided that for us is a blessing to this community.”

Dozens of Red Cross volunteers armed with preparedness H.O.M.E. kits provided one-on-one briefings with sixty households during the two-hour gathering. H.O.M.E. stands for Helping Oklahoman Manage Emergencies. The idea behind the kit is to ensure those affected by the storms not only have replacement items to keep them better prepared, but are presented with one-on-one tips to use the toolkit effectively.

Inside the kit, weather radios, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a Red Cross whistle, flashlight and educational literature about what to do if a disaster strikes.

“I’m excited to go home and get it ready and actually sit down with my kids and get this in their heads,” said Ms. Pearson-Despain. “I want them to know they’re a lot more secure than they were last year.”

“I am thrilled to death, I’m so tickled I don’t know how to act,” Linda Moore told the Red Cross after walking out with her preparedness bag.

63 year old Linda Moore survived the May 19th, 2013 tornado in a neighbor’s storm shelter. When she emerged her home was nearly gone, her only cedar chest of memories had vanished.

She said she came to the gathering with no idea she would be getting the preparedness tools and now it will never be far away. “I’m going to have it right by me so if I need to go I’ll have it ready, “ Moore said, “and because it’s just me and my animals, I’ll be more prepared.”

The Red Cross plans to deliver more preparedness kits to storm affected communities in the coming weeks.

The Red Cross is also working with four other partner agencies on long-term case management for individuals and families. For many, this could include assistance with transportation needs, help with home repairs and even security deposits on new housing. Other long-term needs could include medical and mental health care. All cases are different and are based on individual and family needs. The Red Cross will be working with the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Society of St. Vincent De Paul and The Oklahoma United Methodist Church to make sure all needs are met. All of these agencies will be working in unison out of centers in El Reno, Moore and Shawnee to serve clients. Those needing assistance can call 1-866-477-7276.

Disaster Update: Philippines Typhoons, Floods, and Earthquake

February 21, 2014

In the past six months, the Philippines has experienced a number of natural disasters in various parts of the country. The global Red Cross network continues to provide relief to communities affected by typhoons, floods, and earthquakes that occurred in late 2013.

The American Red Cross has contributed nearly $241,700 toward relief efforts in response to Typhoon Utor, Tropical Storm Trami, and nine additional storms that hit Manila and surrounding provinces from August to December 2013. The storms affected five million people and damaged more than a million houses from August-December 2013. The funds will support the Philippine Red Cross in water and sanitation, shelter, and other recovery activities.     

To date, the American Red Cross has contributed $145,000 to help people recovering from a 7.2 earthquake in the Central Visayas region in October 2013. The quake caused extensive damage to public health facilities and schools, triggered electric power failures, and interrupted water supply. The money provides essential relief supplies and shelter materials to families affected by the quake and funds emergency cash distribution to people, so they can buy what they need to rebuild.

When Typhoon Haiyan made landfall across the Visayas region in November, the global Red Cross network was one of the first organizations to provide hands-on assistance to communities in need. More than 16 million people were affected by the typhoon and more than a million homes were damaged or destroyed. Since then, the American Red Cross has spent or committed $28 million toward relief efforts and deployed 43 disaster specialists to distribute things like food, water, mosquito nets, and tools for repairing shelters. The funds have helped the global Red Cross network to launch its large-scale cash distribution program, which has put much-needed cash in the hands of more than 41,000 families affected by Typhoon Haiyan. 

Disaster Alert: Ukraine

February 21, 2014

Geneva/Moscow/Kiev (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is extremely concerned about spiraling violence in Ukraine, and about the lack of respect for medical and humanitarian work and for those carrying it out.

“Scores of people in the streets of Kiev and across Ukraine are in need of urgent medical aid. A Ukrainian Red Cross Society volunteer was wounded today while providing medical assistance,” said Pascal Cuttat, head of the ICRC’s regional delegation covering the Russian Federation, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. “We have received further reports of Ukrainian Red Cross staff and volunteers being harassed and of other impediments to their work. This is unacceptable. We are calling on everyone involved in the violence to show restraint and to ensure that medical personnel and humanitarian staff, and the facilities and vehicles they are using, are spared.”

Since the onset of the events in 2013, Ukrainian Red Cross emergency response teams have administered first aid to the wounded of both sides. In the last 48 hours they assisted more than 360 people.

The ICRC has been providing financial and technical support enabling the Ukrainian Red Cross to boost its ability to meet needs throughout the country in close coordination with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The ICRC has staff on the ground and is in dialogue with representatives of the government and the opposition.

Mr Cuttat said that, despite the challenging environment, the Ukrainian Red Cross was doing its utmost to provide neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian aid. “More than 50 volunteers of the emergency response team in Kiev are working around the clock.” For the Ukrainian Red Cross to be able to continue working, he said, everyone involved in ongoing clashes has to respect humanitarian staff and health-care workers.

Video Update from Tacloban in the Philippines

February 14, 2014

VIDEO: Shelter in Pennsylvania

February 6, 2014


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