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American Red Cross Supports Worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent Responses to Floods, Storms and Earthquakes


The deadly earthquake in Turkey and devastating floods and landslides in Central America have affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and Red Cross and Red Crescent workers are responding with emergency relief assistance. The American Red Cross is providing support to the relief efforts in both disasters.

In Turkey, thousands are in need of assistance following the massive earthquake which hit the country last weekend. The American Red Cross has committed $100,000 to the Turkish Red Crescent response operation in partnership with the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network. The Turkish Red Crescent aims to assist at least 50,000 people in coming weeks.

More than 500 people have died and 2,000 have been injured in the quake that toppled thousands of homes. Many are still missing and thousands are homeless. The bitterly cold nights in the mountainous area are a concern with thousands of people still sleeping out in the open in below freezing temperatures. The area is still experiencing aftershocks and most residents are afraid to stay indoors even if their homes are still standing.

The Turkish Red Crescent has activated all of its branches, providing shelter, food, and relief supplies for those affected. They have established four tent camps sheltering and feeding 1,300 people. Thousands of homes have been destroyed or heavily damaged and a priority for the Turkish Red Crescent is to provide immediate temporary shelter assistance through the winter months with tents, and warm blankets, clothing and sleeping bags.

Melek Halitogullari (L) is comforted by her father as she waits for news on her brother, who is trapped under debris, after an earthquake in Ercis, near the eastern Turkish city of Van October 27, 2011. Survivors of eastern Turkey's earthquake pleaded for more tents on Thursday, fearing death from cold after a tremor that killed at least 523 and left thousands sleeping in the open.Credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas. Courtesy. Alertnet.org

The Turkish Red Crescent has already distributed thousands of tents and blankets, along with food aid, water and kitchen sets. They have also provided emotional support for people grieving or suffering from post-trauma stress to those affected, as well as blood and blood products for the area’s medical facilities.

Flooding Devastates Central America

Following a month of heavy rains, Red Cross societies throughout Central America are providing food, shelter, first aid and evacuation assistance to aid the more than 630,000 people who have been hit by floods and landslides and isolated by destroyed roads and bridges. Hardest hit are El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The American Red Cross has committed a total of $260,000 in relief supplies and other support for the Red Cross response in Central America and stands ready to provide further assistance if needed. Three American Red Cross disaster specialists from its regional office in Panama are on the scene to assist the Red Cross operations in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

In El Salvador, at least 200,000 people are affected, 20,000 homes have been damaged and 51,000 people have been evacuated. The Salvadoran Red Cross has mobilized more than 900 volunteers to support evacuation and search and rescue activities, conduct damage assessments, operate emergency shelters and distribute relief supplies to those in need.

A man walks on a road that was flooded by the overflow of a river in the Ciudad Arce department of La Libertad, about 40 km (25 miles) west of San Salvador October 16, 2011. Torrential rain in Central America forced thousands to abandon their homes and trapped many In El Salvador, where twenty-seven people were killed. REUTERS / Luis Galdamez. Courtesy Alertnet.org

In Guatemala, more than 470,000 people are affected, 11,000 homes have been damaged and 23,000 people have been evacuated. The Guatemalan Red Cross has deployed more than 1,400 volunteers to conduct search and rescue activities, provide medical assistance, emergency shelters, water and sanitation, and assist families in re-establishing contact with their relatives.

In Honduras, more than 17,000 people are affected by the floods, 900 homes have been damaged and 190 people have been evacuated. The Honduran Red Cross is supporting evacuations, performing damage and needs assessments, monitoring situations in at-risk river communities, providing early warnings as needed, and distributing aid supplies to those in affected communities.

In Nicaragua, 150,000 people are affected, more than 4,100 homes have been damaged and 10,000 people have been evacuated. The Nicaraguan Red Cross has mobilized more than 250 volunteers to provide first aid, conduct search and rescue, assist in evacuations and provide damage assessments.

Tropical Storm Rina

As Tropical Storm Rina bears down on the Yucatan Peninsula, the Mexican Red Cross is standing by, ready to respond with volunteers and vehicles ready to provide support. Its Regional Disaster Operations Center in the city of Cancun is monitoring the situation and coordinating operations in branch offices.

The American Red Cross is monitoring the storm from our offices in Panama and Washington, DC and is in close communication with the Mexican Red Cross as the storm passes over the country.

The American Red Cross will continue to monitor all three disaster situations and communicate with Red Cross and Red Crescent partners in the region to determine if additional assistance is needed.