The American Red Cross and Islamic Relief USA have been working closely together on disaster response and preparedness for nearly three years, and today are taking their partnership to the next level with a joint partnership agreement.
The agreement signed today by both groups is the first national Memorandum of Understanding between the American Red Cross and a Muslim-American response organization. Islamic Relief USA, which is headquartered in Alexandria, Va., has six regional offices across the country, including Texas, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and two in California.
This agreement will advance the shared goal of Islamic Relief USA and the Red Cross to engage and serve diverse communities across the country, prepare individuals and communities for disasters and increase resilience.
“Through our strengthened coordination, increased capacity, and extended reach working with one another, the American Red Cross and Islamic Relief USA are committed to serving diverse communities affected by disasters and increasing the preparedness and resilience of communities across the country,” said Richard Reed, senior vice president of Disaster Cycle Services at the Red Cross.
"We are very proud to strengthen our work with the American Red Cross and commemorate a partnership that will be of mutual benefit,” said Anwar Khan, chief operations officer of Islamic Relief USA. “Already, working together has broken down barriers in communities we serve by bringing more diverse populations into disaster response. We look forward to learning from the American Red Cross' rich history of assisting communities and to helping them extend their reach to serve more diverse communities."
Under the agreement, the Red Cross and Islamic Relief USA will work to improve community readiness through pre-disaster planning, joint exercises, and identifying gaps in resources and capabilities. Islamic Relief USA and Red Cross partnership activities will include joint training, disaster response work such as sheltering, feeding and disaster assessment, CPR/FA/AED training for IRUSA volunteers, and support for Red Cross community blood drives.
Since 2011, more than 160 IRUSA response team volunteers have worked alongside the Red Cross during nine disaster relief operations. These disasters have included Texas tornadoes in 2012, Colorado wildfires, Hurricane Isaac, Superstorm Sandy, and the Oklahoma tornadoes in May 2013. In addition, more than 900 IRUSA volunteers completed Red Cross disaster training and more than 160 completed CPR/FA/AED training.
"The communities that are affected by crisis events are much better for the partnership,” said Derrick Lea, Disaster Action Response Team program manager at Islamic Relief. “We can do so much more when we work together than we could separately."
“We are very excited about commemorating our partnership efforts and accomplishments, and look forward to our continued learning from one another in Washington DC and in communities across the nation,” Reed said.