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Building Safer Communities

Preparing Families for Disasters Around the Globe

Each year, disasters devastate millions of lives around the world. Climate change, population growth and urbanization are straining living conditions for people in communities that are at-risk to disasters and infectious diseases.

From Latin America to Asia and places in between, the American Red Cross partners with sister Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to foster more disaster-ready communities. Together, we form the world’s largest humanitarian network to empower millions of people with lifesaving skills and sustainable, cost-effective solutions to keep neighbors safe.

How We Help


As part of its disaster risk reduction programming, the American Red Cross works with the Ecuadorian Red Cross to help towns stay safe during earthquakes, tsunamis, and other emergencies. Johanna Murillo talks through her family emergency plan outside of her home in rural Ecuador.

Preparing for Emergencies

We can’t always stop disasters from happening, but we can prepare for them. Alongside local Red Cross and Red Crescent teams, the American Red Cross delivers lifesaving training and tools to communities worldwide—even in the most hard-to-reach areas.

Something as simple as a bullhorn can save lives. We put tools like this into the hands of local volunteers who alert neighbors of danger. We teach schoolchildren how their families can stay safe from crises like typhoons, floods and earthquakes. And we train communities to deliver first aid and mobilize emergency shelters in the face of disaster.

We also help identify local risks, develop cost-effective ways to minimize vulnerabilities and mobilize local volunteers. This can be anything from digging drainage systems to reduce flooding to planting trees and bushes on embankments to prevent landslides.

The American Red Cross has a long history of working with Red Cross and Red Crescent teams in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, Eurasia and Asia. In partnership with the global Red Cross Red Crescent network, the American Red Cross offers innovative resources like lifesaving mobile apps through our Global Disaster Preparedness Center and delivers on-the-ground support in places like Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Mothers wait in line at a vaccination spot at the local health clinic. The American Red Cross, as part of the Measles & Rubella Initiative, supported a measles vaccination campaign in Benin in November 2014. Some 1,000 Benin Red Cross volunteers went door to door in three different cities to encourage mothers and fathers to vaccinate their children. In all, more than 3 million children were vaccinated as part of the campaign.

Protecting People Against Disease

Every day, infectious diseases take the lives of children and adults around the world. But with access to lifesaving training and tools, many of these deaths can be prevented.

The American Red Cross helps stem the spread of life-threatening diseases. We’re working to eliminate measles by mobilizing local volunteers and targeting vaccination campaigns in high-risk communities. In collaboration with sister Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the American Red Cross has supported prevention and care efforts for Ebola in West Africa and HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, Europe and Asia, including places like Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, when international disasters like floods and typhoons strike, the American Red Cross works with local Red Cross teams on hygiene promotion and safe sanitation efforts. We also fight the spread of water-borne diseases like cholera by distributing vital supplies like water purification tablets, soap and other personal hygiene items.

When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, Red Cross teams delivered food, water, emergency shelter, medical care, cash, and other aid to help families impacted by the storm.

Responding to International Disasters

When a global disaster or health epidemic strikes, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams are often the first to respond. The American Red Cross works alongside local staff and volunteers to deliver lifesaving to people in need.

For more information about how we respond to earthquakes, floods, droughts, outbreaks, storms, and other disasters around the globe, visit international disasters.



Join Us

You can take action to help save lives and give hope to people around the world.
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Help Us Map the World

Map at-risk communities from your home computer! All you need is a mouse and the internet. Digital volunteering is a simple way to ensure disaster responders get relief into people’s hands – especially in the world’s most remote areas that don’t appear on traditional maps.

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Become a Volunteer

Volunteer with your local Red Cross chapter. Opportunities may include helping to reconnect families separated by international crises.

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Get Social With Us

Become a digital advocate on social media to support the Red Cross mission. Host an online fundraiser to help people in need.

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