Albuquerque, NM — The American Red Cross spent much of 2012 helping people all across the country whose lives were impacted by disasters. Relief efforts were launched in response to 113 large scale disasters in 42 states and territories between January 1 and December 1.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and the spring Derecho were some of the emergencies affecting communities all
across the country. From Alaska to Florida and New Mexico, from the East Coast to the West, few regions were spared.
“Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma tornado dominated the news coverage in New Mexico, but it wasn’t the only disaster that disrupted lives in 2012 and 2013,” said Rahim Balsara, Regional CEO of The American Red Cross in New Mexico.“The number of lives affected by large disasters in the past year is simply staggering. The Red Cross responded to devastating hurricanes, flooding and wildfires that wiped out entire neighborhoods, offering people shelter, food and comfort.”
In the United States, the Red Cross opened 907 shelters and provided more than 109,000 overnight stays to help people forced from their homes by disasters. In New Mexico the Red Cross opened and staffed 12 shelters in 12 days during the September flooding. In total, more than 29,000 trained disaster workers served 9.9 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 6.8 million relief items. Health and mental health workers provided more than 141,000 consultations to help people on the road to recovery.
The Red Cross also responded to tragic events that impacted people’s lives in the last year, most recently the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as the mass shootings at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in July and at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August. In all three responses, the Red Cross provided emotional and mental health support, as well as food and drinks for first responders.
In the past year, The American Red Cross in New Mexico was called upon 282 times and served 341 families impacted by disaster. 90% of disaster calls in New Mexico are for home fires.
Hurricanes Impacted Many Lives
In June, Tropical Storm Debby marked the start of hurricane season by causing widespread flooding across much of Florida. Then in late August, Hurricane Isaac came ashore bringing with it strong winds and drenching rain that impacted Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In response to Isaac, the Red Cross mobilized thousands of disaster workers to help people by opening 157 shelters, providing thousands of overnight stays. Volunteers served hundreds of thousands of meals, distributed more than 140,000 relief items and provided thousands of health and mental health contacts.
Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the Atlantic seaboard in late October, leaving massive devastation in its wake. In all, eleven states and Puerto Rico felt the impact with New York and New Jersey seeing the most devastation. The large Red Cross relief effort continues today, weeks after the storm’s landfall. As of December 1, more than 15,300 trained disaster workers mobilized to provide help. The Red Cross has handed out millions of relief items and meals, provided tens of thousands of health and emotional support contacts to people whose lives have been turned upside down. The Red Cross will be on the ground supporting recovery efforts for some time.
Spring Tornadoes and Floods
In early March, as many as 95 confirmed tornadoes touched down, destroying communities across the Midwest and Southeast. Tornadoes slammed through the Dallas-Fort Worth area in early April and in mid-April, dozens of tornadoes ripped across the Midwest for a second time.
In all, severe spring weather affected communities in 16 states, including Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas. The Red Cross launched responses to provide safe shelter, warm meals and relief supplies to people forced from their homes. Disaster workers served nearly a quarter of a million meals and snacks and handed out more than 112,000 relief items like cleaning supplies and comfort kits.
A string of storms with winds up to 90 miles per hour slammed across Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio and the District of Columbia in June, bringing with them hundreds of reports of impact from severe weather. Millions were without power in areas while high temperatures broke records. The Red Cross provided thousands of overnight stays in more than 70 shelters, served more than 246,000 meals and snacks, and distributed about 128,000 relief items.
Dry conditions fueled devastating wildfires across the western part of the country, forcing evacuations and destroying homes. In response, the Red Cross launched wildfire relief operations in nine states including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and California. The Red Cross provided nearly 4,000 overnight stays in shelters, served more than 159,000 meals and snacks, and handed out tens of thousands of relief items to people in need.
The American Red Cross helped almost three million people around the world in 2012, responding to 13 disasters in more than 20 countries. These included floods in Bolivia, Peru, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Panama. Assistance was also sent to Senegal, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Mali and Malawi to help people affected by food shortages, as well as a drought in Paraguay. Red Cross workers are also responding to help people affected by civil unrest in Syria and a cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone. The American Red Cross responded in Jamaica and Haiti after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in those countries.
The Red Cross thanks everyone who has supported disaster relief operations this year. Every nine minutes the Red Cross responds to a disaster in communities across the country. Whether the disaster is a hurricane or a fire in someone’s home, the Red Cross is there.
The Red Cross also provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than 9 million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.
About the American Red Cross:
The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people to fulfill our mission. To help the Red Cross continue to save lives, contributions may be made to the American Red Cross Local Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-560-2302. Contributions to the Local Disaster Relief Fund may also be sent to the American Red Cross in New Mexico by mail: American Red Cross in New Mexico, 7445 Pan American West Fwy. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109 or made online at www.redcross.org/newmexico. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or visit us on Twitter @RedCross.
Beverly L. Allen
(505) 220 3097
December 23, 2013