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Red Cross East Harlem Explosion Response – A Look Back

Red Cross East Harlem Explosion Response – A Look Back.
"Red Cross volunteers and employees have worked long hours and days on end to help residents affected by this tragic explosion."

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For almost a month after the tragic explosion and building collapse in East Harlem on March 12, the American Red Cross has assisted those affected in countless ways.

“Red Cross volunteers and employees have worked long hours and days on end to help residents affected by this tragic explosion,” said Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO of the Greater New York Red Cross. “We are grateful to have been able to help so many who have had their lives turned upside down by this disaster with food, shelter, emotional support and more.”

Between March 12 and March 23:

  • The Red Cross Emergency Operations Center was in operation and fully staffed 24/7 from the time of the collapse on March 12 through Sunday, March 23.
  • More than 338 adults and children were comforted and assisted by Red Cross caseworkers at NYC resident service centers.
  • More than 200 volunteers from across the Greater NY Region responded to the call to help those affected.
  • Over 20,000 meals, snacks and beverages were served to residents and first responders.
  • Between March 12 and March 14, more than 70 residents overnighted at the Red Cross operated shelter at the Salvation Army facility (for a total of 121 shelter stays; i.e., some of those 70 residents stayed more than one night).
  • Dozens of children received solace and safe haven at the Red Cross shelter, with a little extra help from the Good Dog Foundation therapy dogs in conjunction with the ASPCA.
  • Nearly 500 blankets and personal hygiene comfort kits containing soap, toothbrushes, face clothes, toothpaste, deodorant and additional items were distributed.
  • Red Cross Client Assistance staff connected with over 20 families in need of mental health and/or physical health support.
  • Throughout this response, the Red Cross collaborated with its city, community and other nonprofit partners. During the second week of the response the Red Cross entered a new phase of partnership, collaborating with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Safe Horizon, Union Settlement and LSA Family Health Service, to help the community and residents in their recovery. The Red Cross transitioned casework to long-term recovery partners and continues to offer mental health assistance and support to the community. Additionally, in April, the Red Cross provided move-in assistance kits containing non-perishable food, cleaning supplies and more to the families who returned to their homes.

    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 or follow us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.