About 200 times a day, American Red Cross workers respond to emergencies across the country. These can include anything from single-family fires to large disasters such as floods and hurricanes.
Many of these emergency situations don’t make headlines. For instance, this week Red Cross chapters responded to wildfires in California, an oil spill in Michigan, and flooding in Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas and Kentucky. More than 230 people in these states looked to the Red Cross for a safe place to stay, food to eat, and a shoulder to lean on.
In California alone, Red Cross shelters housed 159 people overnight who sought an escape from the wildfires in Los Angeles County. More shelters are on stand-by to become operational if necessary. The fire has forced the evacuation of more than 4,000 people in Palmdale in north central Los Angeles County. The Kern County Chapter in Bakersfield, California has also opened shelters in response to wildfires in that area.
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Red Cross has shelters open for residents who may be temporarily displaced by an oil spill on the Kalamazoo River. In Illinois, the Red Cross has opened shelters after flooding there, and distributed clean-up kits in Dubuque and Clayton counties.
People in this country depend on the Red Cross to be ready to help, and we depend on people and businesses to support our disaster efforts. We have launched a new national fundraising drive in anticipation of an extremely active hurricane season that could be made even worse by the Gulf oil spill. Contributions will improve our ability to respond and reduce the amount of money we usually borrow to fund our disaster response.
Won’t you please help by making a donation to support American Red Cross disaster relief? Your gift will allow the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance during a disaster.
Experts predict 2010 could be an extremely active hurricane year – three to seven major storms. More than 35 million people are vulnerable. The Red Cross is prepared to help, and has already spent nearly $30 million this year training and preparing volunteers and pre-positioning equipment and materials near areas that could be hit by hurricanes. We're gearing up to provide 1 million meals a day for hurricane victims, shelter 350,000 people a day, and deploy more than 50,000 volunteers.
In an average year, the Red Cross spends about $450 million on disaster relief. So far this year, the Red Cross has responded to more than 30 significant disasters in the U.S. These have included floods in Tennessee, North Dakota, the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, tornadoes in the South and Midwest, wildfires in the West, and major fires in communities across the country. The American Red Cross has also responded to eight major international disasters this year, including the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and China, and unrest in Kyrgyzstan.
Please help us to be ready when an emergency happens. If you would like to make a contribution, you can go to www.redcross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief — or text REDCROSS to 90999.