November 14, 2013
Texas- Following an explosion in Ellis County, Texas, the American Red Cross is establishing a shelter location for anyone that might need a place to gather until they can safely return home. The shelter will be located at Italy High School, 300 South College, Italy, Texas. At this time, no residents have arrived at the shelter, but as always, the Red Cross will remain ready to serve until the emergency has passed.
November 12, 2013
Typhoon Haiyan swept across the central Philippines on Friday leaving a trail of massive destruction in its wake. With sustained winds reported at over 145 miles per hour, and significantly stronger gusts, Haiyan was the second category 5 typhoon to strike the Philippines this year. The typhoon affected 4.3 million people across 36 provinces.
Philippine Red Cross volunteers throughout the region are reporting significant damage and a growing death toll, while the full extent of the devastation continues to unfold. While relief efforts are underway, blocked roads, destroyed infrastructure and downed communication lines are making the response particularly challenging.
The Philippine Red Cross is leading the response effort and their volunteers have been caring for people even before Typhoon Haiyan made landfall—working closely to support pre-emptive evacuations of more than 125,000 families. The Philippine Red Cross is the largest humanitarian organization in the country, with 1,000 staff and an estimated 500,000 active volunteers engaged in response to this emergency. Red Cross has begun distributions of relief supplies, but delivery in the worst affected city of Tacloban has been significantly constrained by damage to local infrastructure.
The American Red Cross has deployed four people to the Philippines. These include two people who specialize in telecommunication and who are traveling with satellite equipment, and two others who specialize in disaster assessment. The Red Cross network has deployed teams in logistics, disaster assessment, shelter, health, water and sanitation.
In addition to supplying people, expertise, and equipment, the American Red Cross is helping reconnect families separated by Typhoon Haiyan. People searching for a missing family member in the Philippines should remember that many phones lines are down. If still unable to reach loved ones, people contact their local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a family tracing case.
November 8, 2013
After serving in the Vietnam War and watching his friends and brothers get injured, Jesse Cazarez knows how fortunate he is.
“I am the lucky one,” he says, standing in the middle of a water-logged garage next to two totaled cars and piles of rubble.
That sense of gratitude and optimism shines through as he begins to rebuild after the floods that his in neighborhood on Halloween.
“This is nothing,” Jesse said. “After everything I’ve seen, I know that as a human being, you can always bounce back. Red Cross feeds me every day, and they’ve really been a lot of help.”
November 8, 2013
As a former NSA employee, Air Force veteran and retired Police Officer, David Spillman might at first seem unapproachable. But as volunteer case worker for the Red Cross, David’s manner is anything by intimidating.
When speaking of his service to his country, David’s slight smile and narrowed eyes hint at a deep history of challenges and victories—a subtle fact that allows him to forge a deep connection with the Red Cross clients he helps.
As clients sit down at his station at the Flood Assistance Center in Austin, Texas, he greats them humbly and speaks to them warmly.
“I have had many jobs,” said David. “But in the end I just enjoy being of service, and that’s what drew me to the Red Cross.”
November 7, 2013
The Chaco region of Paraguay is experiencing severe drought—limiting families’ access to safe water and triggering losses in agriculture, livestock and dairy production since May 2013. The lack of rain during the first months of the year prevented families from getting the water needed to fill their reserve tanks.
The Government of Paraguay declared a state of emergency in September 2013. Approximately 75,000 people in 246 communities have been affected. The drought has resulted in the loss of a large number of livestock, severely impacted the livelihoods of small farmers and affected communities that are still recovering from the 2012 floods. The impact of the drought was exacerbated by a frost in July and August.
The American Red Cross has committed $50,000 for delivery of relief supplies to households in need. The Paraguayan Red Cross mobilized a damage-assessment team and participated in coordination meetings to identify areas of interaction and intervention with the government and other humanitarian aid organizations. The Government of Paraguay has provided approximately 2.5 million gallons of water and—alongside the World Food Programme—has provided food parcels to approximately 8,000 households.