In a year that had deadly tornadoes, fierce wildfires and destructive floods in many states, the Eastern NC Region of the Red Cross responded to 759 local disasters in the region, part of the 146 large disaster relief efforts led by the American Red Cross in 42 states and territories between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1 in 2013.
“This year, the Red Cross continued to serve the people of eastern NC through the dedicated work of its staff and volunteers,” said Bill Brent, CEO for the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross. “2013 was a busy year and we are so very thankful for everyone who supported our efforts to help those in need.”
Here at Home
This year, your American Red Cross, Eastern NC Region responded to 759 local disasters, the majority of which were home fires and provided assistance for 1,338 families in need including shelter, food, clothing, supplies, and emotional support. From Wilmington to Elizabeth City, your local Red Cross supported large disasters in our area like multi-family fires and tornadoes as well as major national disasters across the country. All of this was made possible by the help of 1,500 trained volunteers and through the generosity of local donors.
Kinston Towers Fire
During June and July, 65 Red Cross workers throughout eastern NC provided support to 113 residents for nearly 4 weeks after they were evacuated from their homes when a fire broke out in Kinston Towers. Kinston Towers apartments, an 11-story section 8 housing complex in Kinston, NC home to many elderly and disabled people, sustained significant damage which took 23 days to repair. Those evacuated from their homes were initially brought to a Red Cross shelter where volunteers served meals and provided comfort kits containing hygiene items, blankets, and clothing for those that needed it. The Red Cross continued to provide support to those that were displaced by providing daily meals, supplies and access to health and mental health services while they waited at area hotels to return home.
Carteret County Tornadoes
On the evening of November 26, 2 days before Thanksgiving, severe storms and tornadoes swept across eastern NC damaging and destroying a number of homes in Carteret County. The Red Cross provided assistance for 16 families that were displaced after the tornado ripped through their homes. Caseworkers met individually with each family to determine their immediate emergency needs and provided shelter, clothing, food, minor medical care, supplies, and emotional support.
On December 14, in just 24 hours the Red Cross disaster volunteers responded to 6 single and multi-family fires in Goldsboro, Winterville, Greenville, Kinston, and Rocky Mount providing more than $10,000 in direct financial assistance for 13 families who lost everything. The Red Cross provided for the immediate needs of 53 residents affected which included shelter, food, seasonal clothing, shoes, child and baby supplies, and emotional support. Our area tends to see an increase in disasters during the holidays because due to home heating units and holiday decorations.
Local Volunteers Supporting National Responses
Not only were Red Cross volunteers from eastern NC on call around the clock to respond to local disasters, they also spent weeks at a time away from family and home to support disasters across the country. Twenty volunteers from our area deployed to eight different major disaster responses including floods, wildfires and tornadoes in Colorado, Illinois and Oklahoma. These volunteers were involved with essential activities including shelter operations, feeding, client casework, distribution of supplies, damage assessment, and health and mental health services.
Behind the Numbers: Mobilizing Responses for Big Disasters
The Red Cross disaster responses across the country in 2013 included:
- 16,700 workers—many of them volunteers—providing care, comfort and support to those in need.
- 89,000 contacts by specially trained workers with disaster victims who needed mental health support or health services, which is more people than the amount of travelers who pass through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on an average day.
- 1.8 million meals and snacks, the equivalent of feeding the entire population of Philadelphia lunch in a day.
- 29,000 overnight stays in shelters for people forced from their homes by disasters, enough to fill the largest hotel in New York City for more than two weeks.
- 1 million relief items distributed, including more than 33,700 toothbrushes.
- $74 million to more than 60 nonprofit partners to help people and communities recover from Superstorm Sandy.
In April, flooding struck 10,000 homes in 10 counties in Illinois. More than a thousand Red Cross volunteers provided shelter and food to displaced families and delivered relief supplies to those returning to waterlogged homes. In September, almost a half-year’s worth of rain fell in just three days across several counties in and around Boulder, Colo. Red Crossers responded and served more than 204,000 meals and snacks, handed out more than 249,000 relief items and provided about 15,000 health and mental health contacts. The Red Cross also provided a total of 3,800 shelter stays for people forced from their homes by the flooding.
Tornadoes and Severe Storms
The largest and most deadly tornado outbreak in 2013 came in Oklahoma in May, when a series of tornadoes ripped through the state, and Red Cross workers were there to comfort the survivors, including the community of Moore, Okla., where two elementary schools were struck by a deadly EF-4 tornado. More than six months later, the Red Cross continues to help residents through long-term recovery centers and other community programs.
In addition, Mississippi was hit particularly hard by severe spring storms for the third year in a row, including a tornado that severely damaged the Red Cross building in Hattiesburg in February. Again in April, the Red Cross was there, opening shelters, providing food and water, and helping survivors recover. In November, dozens of tornadoes cut a path of destruction through the Midwest, damaging more than 1,000 homes and leaving hundreds of thousands without power during a cold snap.
When wildfires threatened communities, the Red Cross offered evacuees a safe place to stay and supported first responders. In total, the Red Cross mobilized more than 2,000 workers to support 10 large wildfire responses in eight states during 2013, such as Colorado, Arizona, California and New Mexico.
It’s not just the high-profile disasters that left thousands of people in need this year. The Red Cross also responded to more than 52,000 home fires across America, helping 226,000 people get back on their feet. For those who have suffered a home fire, the event can be just as devastating as the high profile disasters that get a large amount of national attention. Regardless of the size of the event, the Red Cross responds in the same way—with shelter, food and emotional support.
In 2013, the American Red Cross assisted an estimated 1.3 million people affected by disasters in 24 countries outside of the U.S. These included storms and floods in the Philippines, Argentina, Bangladesh and Nigeria. Red Cross workers continue to respond to the ongoing humanitarian need created by the civil unrest in Syria, as well as needs caused by conflicts in other areas around the world. The Red Cross responded to food insecurity issues in Malawi and Zimbabwe and continued our earthquake recovery work in Haiti that has been ongoing since 2010. Additionally, the Red Cross continued its vital work in reconnecting families separated by conflict and disaster, reconnecting 886 families this year alone.
For more on this year’s disasters, view the end-of-year infographic and video.
The work of the American Red Cross is made possible by donations. Donations can be made by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions can also be sent by mail to a local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross via P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
About our Holiday Partners:
During this holiday season, the American Red Cross is grateful for the support of our corporate partners that generously contribute to our Holiday Giving Campaign. They include: Circle K and its customers in the West and Florida divisions, Community Safety Foundation, funded by CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, Mazda and its Dealers nationwide and University of Phoenix. Thanks to the generosity of these and other sponsors, the Red Cross is able to carry out its mission of helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies everyday here and around the world. Each holiday season the Red Cross gives everyone the chance to support our work by giving blood, signing a card for military heroes or buying a gift through our holiday catalog. To support the Red Cross this Holiday Season, visit redcross.org/holiday.